Mosquitoes are one of the most deadly insects in the world. Each year, they kill over 725,000 people, which is way more than the commonly assumed killer, sharks. One of the deadliest diseases they spread is Malaria, which kills about 400,000 people each year. Moreover, Zika virus and yellow fever are also caused by an interaction with these pests. Scientists have discovered there are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes living in the United States, and are present on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Though many people use insect repellent when in the woods, these tricky insects can become immune to the repellent within just three hours of exposure. They are the most hated insect around, and it is quite possible that the world would be a better place without them.
Failed Efforts By Latin America
It should be said that mosquitoes do provide food for birds and other insects, but it’s not their only source of food. Many people are in favor of mosquito eradication, but that’s easier said than done. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Latin American tried to wipe out the mosquito known for causing yellow fever. The specific species they targeted was called the Aedes aegypti. Using the most effective measures they could on a grand scale they were able to eradicate these pesky bugs. The only downside is they came right back on ships from Asia and Africa. They used DDT to attempt to rid the bugs, but it is illegal to use this in the United States.
What is the Zika Virus?
Zika Virus is really just getting attention because of its deadly effects. The first discovery of the virus was back in 1952 in Uganda. Since that time, outbreaks have been found in areas of the United States, Africa, the Pacific and Asia. Though the outbreak is usually mild and only lasts for 3-7 days, those with a weakened immune system may find that they’re hit harder. Though Zika itself is considered to be a mild condition, it has the potential to cause much greater problems. Scientists have found a link to Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome. This neurological condition is rare but serious in nature. Zika can cause microcephaly as well.
Are Genetically Modified Mosquitoes The Answer?
Mosquitoes feed off of bacteria. One thought to get rid of them is to spray an area with bacteria. They would ingest the poisons and then it would kill them by eating the lining of their guts. Another idea that has been toyed around with is to eradicate the problem mosquitoes but leave the others that cause no harm. Cornell University talked about using genetically modified bugs to mingle with the others. If they could breed male mosquitoes that put off a deadly toxin to their offspring, it would cease the population. These males would also kill any female they mated with. Though this solution is costly, especially since it would have to be repeated yearly, it is an answer.
How To Protect Yourself
It’s apparent that there is no way the mosquito is going away anytime soon. The only hope people have is to protect themselves from their buzzing and biting nature. While bug repellents do work for a small period of time, as stated above, they quickly become immune. This is why so many people feel that the pests actually like the stuff. It seems they begin biting again as they become immune. There are some things that you can do to protect your property and lower the population of these pests.
*No Pools of Standing Water – The mosquito loves water. When there are puddles that sit for days, it becomes stagnant water. This type of water will draw more insects than anything else. Drain or fill any standing water in your yard.
*Check The Window Screens – If there is even the smallest hole in your window screen, it can allow mosquito to get inside. Once inside the home, they will torment and buzz in your ear all night long. Ensure screens are in tight and there are no gaps.
*Wear Long Sleeves Outside – When you need to be outside during the evening hours, be sure to wear long sleeves to keep bites at bay. It’s harder to get bitten when there is no bare skin exposed.
*Burn Citronella Candles – These special candles have an aroma that these pests just hate. Burning them in torches and candles around the perimeter where people are congregated will cut down drastically on the bugs.
*Use Different Types of Repellents – Don’t just think that one repellent will take care of it all. While brands like “Off” and “Deep” are the most common ones used, find other solutions like Avon’s “Skin So Soft.” Rotate and re-apply your repellent every three hours for the ultimate in mosquito protection.
Since it seems that these pests aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, we must arm ourselves with protection and ensure that these bugs are kept at bay.