What Happened When We Tried to Eliminate Mosquitoes, Forever

Mosquito Silhouette

Picture this, it’s a hot summer day, and you are watching the sunset while sitting on your porch. A lovely breeze is blowing, and you are ending a perfect summer day. It suddenly occurs to you, you aren’t swatting away pesky mosquitoes. You haven’t noticed any mosquitoes all day. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Although a perfect mosquito-free day sounds terrific, there could be other repercussions. Have you ever thought about what would happen if we tried to eliminate mosquitoes forever?

It’s Been Tried Before

This mosquito eradication idea has been tried before. At least in the United States, it has been tested and the results were not great. According to the Downside Up podcast, as written about on CNN, the US had malaria at one point. Entomologist Tanya Latty stated that two types of malaria were brought to the US. One by British settlers and one by African slaves brought to the US. These two types of malaria became a problem in the Southern US. As the decades progressed mosquito-related illnesses continued. In the 1940s, the United States tried to eliminate the particular type of mosquito that carries malaria through the use of DDT.

DDT, otherwise known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, is a colorless, tasteless, and virtually odorless chemical compound. It was once widely used as an insecticide, specifically during the 1940s to solve the maria problem. DDT was so popular and, at the time, presumably safe that videos of scientists drinking DDT from canisters and footage of kids being sprayed with firehoses spread wildly as a means of proving its safety. At the time, DDT was thought to only negatively impact insects by disrupting their nervous system. Sounds like a perfect solution right? Well not necessarily. DDT became a major threat to the environment. While it did kill mosquitoes, it also killed the animals that eat mosquitoes because they were exposed to large amounts of DDT. The food chain quickly began to feel the effects. Once top predators, most specifically bald eagles, began to ingest large amounts of DDT which in turn affected their ability to reproduce healthy offspring. In the 1960s, bald eagles were actually on the verge of extinction because of DDT. By the 1970s, the US had banned all forms and uses of DDT.

In more recent years, the US tried to experiment with genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Our mosquito experts have already broken down more about this study here if you want to learn more. 

What Purpose Do Mosquitoes Serve?

Surprisingly, there are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes, however, there are only 100 that will attack humans. The remaining thousands of mosquito species live off of plants and fruit nectar. So what purpose do mosquitoes serve anyway? First of all, mosquitoes are an important part of the ecosystem. They serve as a primary food source for a variety of wildlife species from dragonflies to birds.

Additionally, mosquitoes are pollinators. Just like bees and butterflies, mosquitoes that live off of plants transfer pollen from flower to flower. 

Mosquito Mindfulness

While often thought of as just another annoying bug that ruins our summertime fun, mosquitoes serve an important role in the health of our environment. In general, for residential mosquito control, It is okay to try to limit the number of mosquitoes around your home. It is important to do this as mindfully as possible. Our professional mosquito exterminators are knowledgeable and professional in all avenues of mosquito control. We, at Palmetto Exterminator, take pride in effective, affordable, and safe mosquito control. For all your mosquito control needs, please contact us for more information and a free inspection

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