Mosqutio Sprouts Etneral

September 10, 2013
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Mosquitoes, or Culicidae, had once been a blip on the radar of health professionals and ecologists, this having changed with the formation of the National Mosquito Extermination Society in 1903. Over the past several decades, concern over the growth of the mosquito population has only increased. This is evidenced in the sheer amount of research funded for the study of, the eradication of, or even the extinction of mosquitoes. This is understandable, considering it has been estimated that there's been a 227% rise in the mosquito populace of Wichita, Kansas alone, along with the many diseases associated with them.

Indeed, mosquitoes are notorious for spreading deadly diseases, so the concern is natural. Furthermore, there is a fundamental distaste in us toward creatures that impale themselves in us and drain us of blood, even more so than any hatred directed toward the vicious lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!) of the world. However, considering the potential ecological implications, would it wise to continue eradicating them as we have thus far?

Though many advocate for eradication (and even extinction) of the mosquito population, several neglect to factor in the ecological implications. The ecological pyramid of energy illustrates the dependence each group of animals has on one another. On the bottom is the producers, which are eaten by the primary consumers. Then, those consumers are eaten by secondary consumers, for those consumers only to be eaten by tertiary consumers. If one species population grows, such as mosquitoes, there is often a decrease in the population of their prey and an increase in the population of their predators, and vice versa. If mosquitoes are wiped out, then this will mark for death all the species that primarily consume mosquitoes too, such as dragonflies and the fish Gambusia Affinis.

No one can deny that very large populations of mosquitoes cause irreparable damage to the population of the world through the spread of malaria, dengue fever, encephalitis, yellow fever, and more. According to Gizmag, mosquitoes have been either directly or indirectly responsible for the humans of little more than half the humans that ever lived, though this has no substantial evidence to support it. Even with the large amounts of people who die due to mosquitoes and mosquito-spread diseases each year, many seem to misunderstand the pitfalls of wiping out an entire species.

Not only do many notorious mosquito-fighters misunderstand the mosquitoes' place in the world, there is also the negative ecological effect of pesticides that stem from frazzled citizens spraying haphazardly in hopes of staving off the pesky little Culicidae. According to the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, pesticides harm both the aquatic and avian creatures, along with tainting the water supplies. Furthermore, mosquitoes have grown immune to many pesticides over the years, even proving more harmful to their predators than the actual species targeted.

Certainly, though, there are those that are researching and supporting ways of eradicating- but not entirely driving to extinction- the mosquito populations of the world without using pesticides. In fact, Bill Gates recently funded a project involving the development of a "lethal [mosquito] laser", as written in the Wall Street Journal. Still, it can also be said that many of these mosquito-ridding projects can have unseen consequences, whether economically in terms of funds or biologically in terms of mosquito behavior.

Mosquitoes have and will always be a major issue among scientists, doctors, concerned parents, politicians, and business associates. Though they have contributed to a high death toll for a wide array of diseases, the creatures shouldn't simply be wiped off the map. If anything, there should be carefully thought-out research as to how to control the amount of and location of all Culicidae species, such that one wouldn't have to worry about long term biological or environmental effects. And, recently, there has been, for all their strange solutions and expensive procedures. Despite the many misconceptions people have about the eradication of mosquitoes, this is a step in the right direction, even if many are dissatisfied with the patterns of mosquito growth and migration.

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