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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Bite Me, You Die

Newsflash from the Smithsonian Magazine:

While they can seem pointless and purely irritating to us humans, mosquitoes do play a

substantial role in the ecosystem. Mosquitoes form an important source of biomass in the

food chain—serving as food for fish as larvae and for birds, bats and frogs as adult flies—

and some species are important pollinators. Mosquitoes don’t deserve such a bad rap, says

Yvonne-Marie Linton, research director at the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, which

curates Smithsonian’s U.S. National Mosquito Collection. Out of the more than 3,500

mosquito species, only around 400 can transmit diseases like malaria and West Nile virus

to people.

Nothing or no one will convert my thinking. Not the Smithsonian, the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or the National Defense Agency. The “substantial role” mosquitoes play in my ecosystem is as targets for swatters, repellents, chemical killers, smoke bombs, bazookas, and flamethrowers . . . whatever it takes to keep them out of my life.

Au contraire Ms. Linton, the little bloodsuckers deserve as bad a rap as humanly possible. I’ll admit that my predilections for the absence of the evil flying hordes are likely in large part to spending over a year in Southeast Asia where mosquitoes as big as hummingbirds were a daily plague. Added to that is camping on northern Canadian lakes where, if you turned your back, two or more would steal your sandwich. As if sandwiches and fish innards weren’t enough, the Anopheles variety strive with all their little might to effect blood transfusions . . . from me to them. Did I fail to mention the diseases transmitted by the dastardly critters that kill hundreds of thousands annually? Now you know.

If someone could wave a fantastic magic wand to permanently eradicate mosquitoes from the planet, I’d be willing to bet the birds and bats and fish and frogs would find some other delicacy for sustenance. And probably be happier for it. I sure would be.

Addendum: I live in a part of Washington State where mosquitoes are rare. One or two per year mentally challenged ones might find their way to my homestead . . . a big mistake on their part.

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