Mosquitos as eco-terrorists.

I have to say those “ecologists” who would save the mosquitos because they are good at killing people are pretty sick. I wonder how much support this position would garner if NYC and San Francisco were losing huge numbers to these tiny killers. I guess it’s alright as long as it mostly kills poor people in far away countries.

link to column

I am outraged, outraged by this column. Pumpkin Spice Oreos are DELICIOUS! I won’t hear a word against them! :mad:

Well, their point is usually that it would be less ecologically destructive to deal with the virus/parasite/disease-causing organism directly, rather than try to take out the vector. And since many of these diseases have alternate routes of transmission, or could plausibly develop one, that would probably be a better idea from a public health perspective too. The main benefit to targeting mosquitoes is that you can kill a bunch of birds with one stone (even if only temporarily).

Never had them before, but they sound tasty. I’ll have to look for them around Halloween. Thanks. :slight_smile:

The mosquitos that vector zika, dengue, yellow fever, West Nile and chikungunya are not the same as those that transmit malaria. The former are of the genus Aedes; the latter are Anopheles. Furthermore, in most areas, Aedes are foreign intruders. I have no problem getting rid of them, except maybe in their original habitat.

Wouldn’t it be possible instead to modify the mosquitoes to create their own protein so they don’t need blood?

Discover magazine in a January 2016 edition discusses Oxitec’s plan to release genetically modified sterile males in Florida and briefly mentions Bill Gates’ proposal to place a certain gut bacteria in the dengue fever carrying mosquito to make it immune to the virus, creating a healthier mosquito that will not have a virus to transmit to humans. What is the downside to super healthy mosquitos?

Wrong on several counts. Its not a gut bacterium - it is an intracellular endosymbiont (called Wolbachia) that primarily infects the mosquito gonads (also other tissues in the mosquito). It also doesn’t make the mosquitoes healthier - it actually induces a fitness cost (reductions in survival, fecundity, and the ability for the mosquito eggs to survive dry conditions) which can be pretty severe depending on which Wolbachia strain is being used.

To get back to the OP, no one is seriously suggesting eliminating all mosquitoes. There are almost 4,000 species of mosquitoes; maybe 100-200 are significant as potential pests to humans and domestic livestock/animals. Of the REALLY important ones (transmitting important pathogens over a wide area), we’re talking about maybe 50 species tops.

Many of these are invasive. When people who know what they’re talking about talk about eliminating mosquitoes, they usually mean eliminating pest species from their introduced range.

Instead of going “bzzzz, bzzzz”, they’ll drone on about carbs and protein grams?

Maybe they’ll be vegans.

Create it out of what? Everything needs to eat.

Mosquitoes need blood because that is their food. What do you expect them to eat? Kale?

Its not quite as crazy as it sounds. See my previous post on this topic here:

Can we engineer mosquitoes not to take blood?

You can also kill a bunch of literal birds, since mosquitoes are a major food source for them.

And bats too.
Neat short TED animation about how bats are beneficial and take on bad guys like mosquitoes.

I wouldn’t be so cruel even to a mosquito.