Saturday, June 28, 2008


Has any group of scientists done an environmental impact study on the utter removal of mosquitoes, biting flies, no-see-ums, and fleas from the planet? What would happen if we forced the extinction of predatory insects? Who depends on these horrible creatures for sustenance? What else needs them, aside from themselves? Does the right to live extend to critters that prey routinely upon humans?

I am covered in tiny bites from an outing this weekend--there's some from skeeters, some from no-see-ums, some from who knows what--about 50 in all, all of them itching and swollen. I even have them on my legs, and I was wearing long pants. Natural bug repellent does nothing (except make me smell like a candle) and DEET-containing sprays are very bad for you if you don't wash them off daily (long camping trips? showers? ha.) I can't figure out how to avoid these things while still performing my job, but an idea popped into my head regarding their forced removal from the world.

Mosquitoes are known carriers and transmitters of disease. These horrible animals suck up infected blood from one mammal, carry it around a bit, then shove it uninvited into the flesh of another mammal, infecting and frequently killing them, without ever contracting the disease themselves. This made me wonder--to what extent do mosquitoes interact with other skeeters? do they have skeeter mixers? Is there a way for humans to play their game back at them--infect one mosquito, and have it pass a skeeters-only disease to the rest of them? I know poisons are supposed to work like that for colonies of cockroaches, but would it work with a disease? How could that backfire on us? Could the disease mutate and infect humans, or infect all insects, upsetting the food chain? Would they pass it to one another or would it just die with one? Could it be mixed into bug spray--if buggy bites, buggy dies--without being harmful to the wearer? So far I think all insect killers are harsh chemicals that kill by dissolving the critter where it stands, which isn't exactly pleasant for people and pets. I don't want to wipe out bugs altogether, but I seriously can't see any particular value for bugs that bite me but don't wind up being eaten by frogs and birds. Can we isolate the blood sucking bug community and level it?


So I just did a store location search for Barnes and Noble Booksellers in my area, and lo and behold, the first hit was none other than...the Barnes and Noble Bookseller I can see from my porthole and actually could hit with a well-lobbed book of my own. Wow. Impressive. Some mornings this brain of mine forgets my name. Can I trade it in?

1 comment:

Ben said...

Mass mosquito murder has been done before. Usually by using ungodly poisonous chemicals, I think. It was done in panama when they were building the panama canal, i believe, although I think it was only a limited sucess there. I seem to remember reading that it was done in florida in the 1930s as well, but that could be something I made up.

The only problem with killing them would be that Swifts, swallows and house martins eat them, and they're beautiful.