Are you going to miss mosquitoes if they are totally eradicated? The answer is yes if you are living in endemic countries affected by these ‘most hated insects. Of course, everyone wants mosquitoes to be killed. There is no doubt about this because of the millions of people killed by mosquito borne diseases. Yearly, thousands of people die from malaria, mostly kids yet there has not been a permanent solution to stopping mosquito-related illness even with the many solutions available.
Billions of dollars are spent yearly to bring these insects to their knees, yet, the more we try to curb their menaces, the more we are faced with strange mosquito illness like Zika virus looking for vaccines to control their infestations. Africa is not only where these mosquitoes are causing havocs but places across South and Central America.
According to the report from Bill Gate Foundation, mosquitoes carry diseases that kill about 725,000 people a year, 600,000 of them victims of malaria. Yearly, we kill about 475,000 of these insects which is a little amount compared to the number of these mosquitoes breeding on earth. There is no continent that these insects are not found except Antarctica.
There are more than these 3,500 named species around the world if we are ready to eliminate, which may not be something that the riches of Bill Gates can be able to easily achieve in a nearby future. You should understand that the cost of eradicating mosquitoes is going to extremely expensive and also impractical.
There would be an unpredictable and heavy toll on the environment if we should kill all the mosquitoes on earth especially if we are going to make use of excessive insecticides like DDT. Waterways would be polluted, babies would be born with deformities and thousands of wildlife would be killed.
Joseph M. Conlon, an entomologist and the technical Advisor American Mosquito Control Association said “I think, in trying to eradicate mosquitoes, we would probably cause too much environmental damage, collateral damage in doing it,” he continued. “I’m not saying that if we eradicated mosquitoes their predators would all die off because there is no predator on the planet that has mosquitoes as their sole or even primary food source. But there is going to be some environmental damage and possibly in ways we couldn’t even predict.”
Eliminating mosquitoes would take away many birds, reptiles and fish of a food source and even deny some plants a critical pollinator. Take for instance, killing off bees on the face of the earth, the disaster on earth is something that none of us may wish in the first instance.
“I don’t think most people would have any qualms about totally eliminating them,” says Professor Hilary Ranson, head of vector biology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. “I spend most of my time trying to keep them alive and study them, but that’s in order to try to kill them. Ultimately I wouldn’t be too sentimental.”
We have not eradicated these mosquitoes to feel the impact of their absence on earth. Most of these debaters on killing or leaving mosquitoes may go on forever if we do not try something. In Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and Brazil, there are mind-blowing experiments to stop mosquitoes from killing people with their related illness.
Tens of thousands of mosquitoes infected with a special bacteria called Wolbachia, that can suppress dengue fever have been developed to mate with dengue-carrying mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti species, to render them useless. There are genetically modifying mosquitoes that have been produce that lacked certain receptor molecules that helped them smell. We all know that the body odor is what attracts mosquitoes to humans and with this ability destroyed, these mutate mosquitoes are just harmless to humans.
Do we fold our arms and wait till mosquitoes infect the whole world before killing every single of them? Do we spend billions of dollars in tackling mosquitoes in Africa when that amount could have gone a long way in making the lives of Africans better?
The good news is that there is hope…When to have a complete victory over mosquitoes is what we do not know but curbing the numerous diseases that humans are afflicted by mosquitoes is something that is sure.