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Bingham 1

Clint Bingham
Ms. Young
English 1010
5 December 2016
A World Without Mosquitos
Public opinion towards mosquitos is decidedly negative. In fact, anyone who has ever
lived in a place where mosquitos inhabit, and/or ever been bitten by a mosquito will likely detest
their existence. In fact, a study conducted in both Key West, Florida and Tucson, Arizona found,
according to Katherine L. Dickenson, of the University of Colorado Boulder Atmospheric
research department, that “Nearly three quarters of respondents in both cities (74% in Tucson
and 73% in Key West) would be willing to pay $25 or more annually toward an increase in
publicly funded mosquito control effort.” ( Dickenson 9). When analyzing these results, it’s
simple to gage public opinion towards mosquitos. Most people, three fourths in fact, are willing
to pay a portion of their hard-earned cash to their state government in order to eradicate
mosquitoes from their land.
With the act of mosquito inserting it’s proboscis into an organism’s blood stream to feed,
comes the terrible capacity of the mosquito to transmit life threatening diseases from person to
person. In a first world country like the United States, they are simply a nuisance. But in
countries like Tanzania, mosquitos are the cause of catastrophic losses of human life. Because of
the mosquito’s capacity to spread life threatening diseases, and because of their lack of an
impactful role in the food chain, the world would become a better place if mosquitos were
completely eradicated.

of the University of Dar Es Salam. like Tanzania. Ngum Helen Ntonifor and Serophine Veyufambom.2 % of the respondents used their LLINs for other purposes. even though 18.09 %. results of the questionnaire showed that 743 (89.) As illustrated by these results. however slight. Bamenda University of Science and Technology. Equally. about the effects of mosquito nets (insecticide treated nets or ITNs.) on malaria related deaths in two areas of Tanzania. They studied the blood samples of 476 hospital based patients. Malaria kills an awful lot of people in sub Saharan African countries. some of which are Zika virus. A separate study was conducted in Tanzania.Bingham 2 Mosquitos can carry several diseases. of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Bamenda. both typically not life threatening. and the Department of Public Health. conducted a study in Cameroon to determine the effectiveness of LLINs in prevention of malaria. nursing seeds and footfall nets” (Ntonifor 1.8 %) were using their LLINs to sleep. by Majige Selemani. Using data from health demographic . One measure with which to control mosquitoes in areas like these are long lasting insecticide treated bed nets. and administered a questionnaire to those 476 people as well as 350 people from the community. or LLINs. but the worst of which is the extremely life threatening Malaria. Faculty of Health Sciences. but are also not 100 percent effective. such as fishing. 29 tested positive for malaria giving an overall prevalence of 6. Rufiji and Ifakara. either through more effective control methods or the eradication of mosquitos altogether. respectively. is a problem that must be solved.3 %) having been given to them free-of-charge. because human lives are on the line. and that 578 (77.9 %) of the respondents owned LLINs with up to 649 (87. and West Nile Virus. Ntonifor writes: “Result(s) obtained showed that out of the 476 hospital-based patients. This lack of effectiveness. LLINs are a very effective method of preventing the spread of malaria. and should continue to be used.

But what if the middle man were to be cut out? What if mosquitos were eradicated altogether.4 % decrease of malaria deaths in Rufiji HDSS and 10 % decrease of malaria deaths in Ifakara HDSS.” (Selemani 1) These results. and that without them. or more antiparasite medication like Quinine. the mosquito larvae is the predator and the prey community consists of ciliated and flagellated protozoans as well as rotifers. And they are correct in that those things should without a doubt be supplied.959) in Ifakara HDSS. conducted a study regarding the effects of mosquito larvae on the protozoan communities of pitcher plants. and the protozoan community structure in various scenarios. 95 % CI = 0. In children under 5 years.” (Addicott 475) In this case. The hypothesis was as follows: “… in the presence of predation more species will coexist in the prey community than in the absence of predation. results show an average of 5. However. show that mosquito nets are very effective at preventing untimely deaths caused by malaria-carrying mosquitos. Addicott. “The results show that an increase of 10 % in ownership of mosquito nets at village level had an average of 5. like those of the previous study.2 % decrease in all age malaria deaths in Rufiji HDSS and 12. scientific studies suggest that this is false. is that of the protozoan communities of pitcher plants.Bingham 3 surveillance systems (HDSS) in both respective areas.879.806. of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. One ecosystem that mosquitos are involved in. 0. and there were no need for mosquito nets or Quinine? That is the ideal solution. they are not 100 percent effective. John F. . Some would argue that people living in these areas should simply be given better/more mosquito nets. Selemani writes. However.1 % decrease in all age malaria deaths (IRR = 0. the natural order would be disrupted in some way. to reiterate. What’s interesting. An argument against mosquito control/eradication efforts might be that mosquitos are bound to have some important role in the ecosystem. The study was conducted by observing predator density. specifically mosquito larvae.

] Thus. the other members of the tree hole community only serve to allow the mosquito population to grow. in this case. This result suggests that scirtid feces (and attached microorganisms) constitute a valuable food resource for [mosquito larvae. which both belong to the Odonata family of insects. they do not play a positive role in the ecosystem. other members of tree hole communities may have complex effects on the population growth of [mosquito larvae. It sought to understand the effectiveness of Leaf Scraping Beetle feces as a food source for mosquito larvae. also. Daugherty found that. is that the hypothesis here was proven false. A different study was conducted by Matthew P. therefore. a lot of feces) compared to treatments with few or no scirtids. of the Department of Biology at Sultan Qaboos University.Bingham 4 and perhaps unsurprising. “The field experiments show that for the pitcher plant system the hypothesis must be rejected: species numbers tend to drop monotonically as predator densities increase. while mosquitos do play a part in several communities. But this. of the University of Notre Dame. which is troubling in the face of the fact that mosquitos are harmful to the world. tree holes. Addicott writes. “Mosquito larvae survived longer and developed to later instars in treatments with many scirtids (and. about another ecosystem mosquito larvae are a part of.” (Addicott 475) These results show that the mosquito does not play a necessary or positive role in this ecosystem at all. Derek Roberts. Daugherty. and that it only serves to reduce the prey population. In tree holes as well as pitcher plants. studied the .]” (Daugherty 181) The results of this study further illustrate the fact that. The other concern that may come with mosquito eradication efforts is that they must be a food source for larger predators. The species that is believed to be the main predator of the mosquito is the dragonfly. which would also throw the natural order out of balance. along with its relative the damselfly. is false. In fact. all that they do is consume.

The eradication of mosquitos would be no small feat. In order to understand how dragonflies and damselflies would be affected by the extinction of mosquitos. dragonflies and damselflies will prioritize other. These results show that not even Dragonflies and Damselflies. it needs to be . we can look at a study conducted by Wolf Peter Pfitzner. After his team examined the guts of 41 adult dragonflies and damselflies for the remains of mosquitos. Even in areas densely populated with mosquitos. only why it should be done.” (Roberts 28) Switching to surface feeding is apparently a type of self-preservation behavior carried out by mosquito larvae. and that mosquitos have evolved to avoid them in a larval state. food containing remnants of mosquitoes were only detected in 4 individuals. of the German Mosquito Control Association. Pfitzner found that. Roberts found that the mosquito larvae could detect the presence of dragonfly larvae and react accordingly. although there was a sufficient abundance of mosquitoes providing potential food sources… This presumptive mosquito population density should have been sufficient as a potential food source for dragonflies” (Pfitzner 9). assumptively more nutritious and appealing prey over mosquitos. Roberts says. the species commonly understood the be the predator of the mosquito. The purpose of this essay is not to explain how it should be done.Bingham 5 reactions of mosquito larvae to the presence of dragonfly larvae in the water with them. This shows that dragonflies are the primary predator for mosquitos. “All three mosquito species significantly increased surface filterfeeding. at the expense of bottom scraping. eat enough mosquitos for them to be negatively affected in any way by their disappearance. But if it’s to be done. “From a total of 41 dragonflies and damselflies. when a predator was present in the water (compared with controls where no predator was present). about the role of mosquitos in the diets of adult dragonflies and damselflies in the Upper Rhine Valley of southwestern Germany.

by any means necessary. In conclusion. of course. Because of their capacity to spread life threatening diseases. According to Janet Hemingway. they were eliminated altogether. Hemingway says. Unless. and not even dragonflies eat enough of them to be negatively affected by their disappearance. specifically pyrethroids. mosquitos are not beneficial to our world. mosquitos should be eradicated. They serve no positive or even useful roles in the ecosystem or food chain. so too have the number of reports of pyrethroid resistance in both major vector groups. and it is rare to find sites in Africa where one or both these vectors do not show some resistance to pyrethroids. “As malaria vector control has escalated across Africa. Anopheles gambiae sensu lato and Anopheles funestus (figure 2).” (Hemingway 8) This is alarming. This leads one to believe that mosquitos will continue adapting to bypass human control methods forever. mosquitos are becoming more resistant to our modern insecticides. They serve no purpose. and to adapt in order to bypass our control methods. as quickly as possible. and because their dangerous resilience and capacity to become stronger. because it illustrates the fact that we will need to find better ways to control mosquitos as they adapt to survive. sucking the blood of anything they can latch on to. .Bingham 6 done somewhat quickly. other than to live predatory lifestyles. of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

475-492. and Serophine Veyufambom. "Assessing The Effects Of Mosquito Nets On Malaria Mortality Using A Space Time Model: A Case Study Of Rufiji And Ifakara Health And Demographic Surveillance System Sites In Rural Tanzania. Vol. "Averting A Malaria Disaster: Will Insecticide Resistance Derail Malaria Control?. 181-184. 55. Matthew P. 1-14. Florida And Tucson. Dickinson. July 2003. pp. "Willingness To Pay For Mosquito Control In Key West. Janet. 15. Daugherty. Ntonifor. 150. April 2016. vol. pp. et al. no. 1-8. February 2016. and Steven A. Majige. vol. 387.. 10029. pp. 775-9. July 2016. pp.Bingham 7 Works Cited Addicott. 1785-8. Katherine L. . pp. Arizona. Hemingway. 2. "Leaf Scraping Beetle Feces Are a Food Resource for Tree Hole Mosquito Larvae. vol." Lancet. Northwest Region Cameroon. vol. May 2016. pp." Malaria Journal. no. no. Juliano." The American Journal Of Tropical Medicine And Hygiene vol. Ngum Helen. 94." The American Midland Naturalist. 15. Selemani. 1. John F. "Predation and Prey Community Structure: An Experimental Study of the Effect of Mosquito Larvae on the Protozoan Communities of Pitcher Plants." Malaria Journal. 3. no. "Assessing The Effective Use Of Mosquito Nets In The Prevention Of Malaria In Some Parts Of Mezam Division. et al." Ecological Society of America. May 1974.

Wolf Peter.Bingham 8 Roberts. October 2012. no. "Responses Of Three Species Of Mosquito Larvae To The Presence Of Predatory Dragonfly And Damselfly Larvae. Pfitzner. "The Role Of Mosquitoes In The Diet Of Adult Dragon And Damselflies (Odonata). et al. 145. vol. . Vol. 31 no. pp. 2. Derek. 23-29." Journal Of The American Mosquito Control Association. June 2015. pp. 187-9. 1." Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata.