How would we get rid of every single mosquito?


#1

[Read the post]


#2

NO! CRAZY-HEAD!

Mosquitos are the primary food source for bats and dragonflies and a galactic endangered species!


#3

The embedded link is for a different episode of the podcast… @beschizza is this something you can fix?


#4

Nah, ought not do, sure they’re the most deadly animals, but still.

If you can eliminate specific genera or species that are identified as specific vectors, go for it, but killing off a whole family just doesn’t make sense, they’re a part of the ecology and integrated, and it’s known that not all species transmit disease.

Plus it’d be hard. My house has a mosquito infestation, I kill half a dozen to a dozen a day. Like, today, even though it is consistently well below freezing and has been for months. The fuckers are in here somewhere and I can’t find them.

I know some are coming in on the wood for the wood stove. They hang out in the wood crib where it is cool and damp in the summer and autumn months, then get frozen solid when winter gets here, some survive the wood being moved indoors without being detached or crushed, and then you see a few flying away from the woodstack next to the stove after taking just a few minutes to thaw. Resilient fuckers, I’ll give them that.

But there’s too many for it to be just some coming in on the wood. Somewhere, either under the subfloor, in a wall if there’s a plumbing drip or condensation, somewhere the fuckers are breeding year round in my house, ruining for me one of the best aspects of Canadian rural winter, the absence of fucking bugs! It’s a large house, and some of it is old… but I’ll find them.


#5

Nuke them from orbit?

My understanding is that that’s the only way to be sure.


#6

Ahem. Second most dangerous animal. The number of people killed every year by mosquitos is dwarfed by the number killed by other human beings. Especially when you factor in the humans using motor vehicles as their weapon.


#7

Did y’all know that the USA was going to completely eradicate malaria worldwide, and was well on the way to doing so, but Congress voted to halt the program?

Because screw you, foreigners!

Seriously. Look it up.

I hate mosquitoes, but anyone who thinks it would be a good idea to kill them all needs to study more history.


#8

My state has more heroin related deaths than traffic and gunshot deaths, combined. But your point stands entirely.


#9

with my luck, like Barton Fink.


#10

Genocide is acceptable if they can’t talk.

Also, I will have to look it up, but I don’t doubt it. What about the Gate Foundation’s attempts? If the US actually had a plan that would have worked, shouldn’t the Gate’s be able to pull it off too? They certainly have the resources.


#11

But global ecology doesn’t work that way. You can eradicate mosquitoes completely, and another life form will take their place, that is functionally the same and inhabits the same resource exploitation niche, but is immune to whatever methods you used to kill the mosquitoes. Or at least, that’s the safe bet, when you’re prognosticating a war on an entire environmental niche. You can’t rely on just being absurdly lucky; human blood is a titanic available resource that’s most likely going to be exploited by something.

The way to get rid of mosquito-borne human diseases is to cure all the humans infected with the disease. That’s how we wiped out malaria in the United States - we drained a lot of swamps and killed a lot of bugs, but what made the critical difference was curing all the humans so that the mosquitoes had no human reservoir to draw the disease from in the first place. We no longer bother to run the pesticide trucks up and down the streets of Baltimore all summer like they did when I was a child (the kids would come out and dance in the clouds of DDT, you can see footage of that kind of thing on youtube) but Baltimore is no longer a malarious hellhole despite the resurgence of mosquitoes there.

Since we stopped trying to eradicate it in the 60s, malaria has been slowly returning, and eventually it’ll return to pre-eradication levels in the USA unless we give up this stupid “every man for himself, all taxation is bad” political nonsense.


#12

#13

Re: links – the link to boingboing podcasts is also broken; boingboingpodcasts.com is not secured by https. (Half-off-topic – and if the front page link to Xeni’s Hogwarts IT guy story could also be fixed, that would be great.)


#14

Well, we could start out by legalizing their marriages. Oh, wait…


#15

Didn’t have time to listen yet, but thinking of this is my first reaction after reading the title:

Mao and the sparrows.


#16

Where can I find out more about this? I’ve known for a while that malaria is probably the biggest disease killer in the world and we can’t seem to stop it. But I also know it used to be a problem in America, but now it isn’t. I have never understood why all the foreign aid and charity donations that fund the fight against malaria can’t accomplish what the US accomplished for itself decades ago.

Was it DDT? Because if it was, maybe we should have a rational conversation about the negative effects of using DDT to wipe out enough mosquitoes get a handle on malaria versus allowing malaria to continue to kill people.


#17

Honestly, the Internet’s pretty good. Check out the CDC (US national Centers for Disease Control) which used to be called the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities - totally not kidding. Remember they are talking about themselves, obviously. Wikipedia has good info, too, at this moment - but that’s user-editable so when you read this it might’ve been changed by dueling culture warriors with pro- or anti- DDT fetishes. You have to watch out for them, unfortunately.

DDT was incredibly important in the fights against malaria, typhus, and especially yellow fever. When large portions of the population are already infected, you’re looking for anything that can cost-effectively break any part of the transmission chain. I’ve read that before the TVA put their authoritarian boot down, 30% of the Tennessee Valley population had malaria. DDT was applied to people, house paint, wallpaper, window screens, and any pet too slow to outrun a Flit gun. (It is still legal for disease control pretty much everywhere, although it is illegal to produce in the USA for commercial and agricultural use anywhere in the world.) When used in close proximity to infected populations a cheap, massively toxic, incredibly persistent contact insecticide works wonders. Unfortunately, Americans reasoned that you could never get too much of something that worked, and in the 50s and 60s engaged in an orgy of insecticide that bred DDT resistant vermin, resulting in the previously mentioned commercial & agricultural bans in the early 70s, too late to prevent arguably severe environmental damage as well as demonstrably severe reduction in the efficacy of DDT.

But I gotta go, later!


#18

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