Don’t smite the biter that feeds you.
Like all organisms on earth, mosquitoes have an important role for balance in many ecosystems. Although for humans they have proved the second most lethal creature on the planet for humankind, (the first of course being human beings-ourselves!) mosquitoes are both food, and predators, to many other organisms that depend upon them. They also make plants sprout, grow, die, and produce fruit.
Fish, birds, spiders, dragonflies, reptiles, and many other insects, and even mammals, rely upon mosquitoes as a source of food. As nectar feeders, particularly, the male of the species plays an important role in pollination. Females also feed on plant products, but at the time for egg production, the female mosquito seeks out hosts for what we might think of a kind of baby shower for the lucky, but sorta yucky, larvae to be.
While we have tried for centuries to eradicate mosquitoes and therefore control their near plague proportion ailments, such as malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, and Yellow fever, our efforts, fortunately, have so far never annihilated these horrible, wonderful, flying heat seeking missiles.
They are drawn to us by our heat, our uric acid, and our cholesterol levels. This process is called Chemo taxis, which means simply, chemical attracting.
If you are determined to reduce mosquitoes in your garden or patio, forget bug zappers. Zappers primarily kill the food sources for many songbirds and other life forms, but really make little impact upon reduction of mosquito populations. Instead, seek out any pools of free standing water, no mater how small. This is where the larvae will begin life. With no stagnant water, presto, no mosquitoes.
They also will go elsewhere if you have natural citronella, or other plant based repellants that they simply choose to avoid.
Some species do not bite human beings at all. A few are completely dependent upon certain bird species for perpetuation of their species, and ours.
Even our immune response plays a critical role is nature’s ever environmental vigil which selects which of us develop certain immunity, and eventual resistance, to many diseases such as the ones carried with the long syringe-like stab of the female mosquito.
Her bite serves the vital function of providing protein for her young larvae to be. Without what is termed her blood meal, which is necessary for her to produce eggs, she would not seek animal hosts for this protein source.
Without her sting, and discreet blood withdrawal from her host, she would not be able to reproduce her species. And unlike our rather mimetic and clumsy syringes, in the case of the invisible, and very highly evolved proboscis of the mosquito, her injection, truly, will not hurt a bit. She injects an anticoagulant, and even an imperceptible anesthetic, that ensures most animals, including us, will not feel the sting. What some of us do feel is the histamine reaction of the itching later on. In quite a few human beings, not even this is noticed. It often depends upon the size, climate, and species of mosquito.
There are approximately 3,000 species of mosquitoes on earth. But don’t make a mad dash to the pesticide aisle just yet. There is no data yet that tells us the toxins in pesticides are any better for us than 99% of the itty bitty bites most of us experience from this common visitor to our homes and gardens.
So, although none of us relish mosquito bites, except for a very few die hard etymologist geeks, who passionately wish to learn all they can about this miraculous creature, we all need mosquitoes. It may even be said that this little vampire who puts the goth kids to shame with her power and invisibility, is truly an astonishing wonder of life.
Although she is not the gleaming dew drop jewel covered bloom we so often envision in our reveries of Eden, there could be no Eden flowers, fruits, and songbirds, without the mosquito.