Monday, April 27, 2009

Mosquitoes: Just Waiting to Kill You

By Alan Caruba

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) held its 75th annual meeting in New Orleans in early April. It had nearly one thousand attendees according to the report out of its Mount Laurel, New Jersey headquarters.

As a youngster, almost as long ago as when the AMCA was founded, I can recall the torment of New Jersey’s mosquitoes. During the spring and throughout the summer, they were ever present. These days it is a rare occasion to find one buzzing around inside one’s home or apartment. Why is that?

The short answer used to be DDT and, in more recent times, the development of a variety of pesticides that effectively “knock down” the mosquito population. Before its invention and use during World War II, mosquito abatement programs mostly consisted of “the ditching of marshlands” to reduce the habitat where mosquitoes bred in the millions. From 1935 through 1950 that’s how New Jersey dealt with mosquitoes.

In the next twenty years, killing mosquitoes got a lot easier, but in the 1960s Rachel Carson wrote a screed against DDT and, in the wake of the environmental movement and from the earliest days of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a primary target for elimination became pesticides, not the pests that spread disease.

These days, the AMCA is a “partner” in the EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program whose goal is “reducing pesticide risk.”

Let me tell you what the real risk is.

I shall do so in the words of the AMCA. “Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism—over one million people die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Not only can mosquitoes carry diseases that afflict humans, they also transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to.”

Okay, I hear you saying, hey, Malaria is something that just kills off Africans. Well maybe you’ve heard of something called West Nile Fever. Thanks to some mosquitoes that hitched a ride on an international flight, “Since 1999, nearly 29,000 cases of West Nile Virus, with more than 11,000 neuroinvasive disease and more than 1,000 fatalities have occurred in the United States, the world’s most advanced nation.”

West Nile Fever was the star of the AMCA meeting this year which also included a symposium “on the future of Public Health Pesticides.”

I will tell you what the future is now that Carol Browner is President Obama’s “environmental czar” and Lisa Jackson, formerly of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, is heading up the EPA.

The future is an all-out effort to ban or restrict the use of any insecticides that might actually protect PEOPLE against the transmission of West Nile Fever or any other disease organism by a mosquito or other insect species. Then add to their hit list the rodenticides that kill off rats and mice.

Mosquitoes also transmit Dengue and Yellow Fever. They transmit dog heartworm. Then there’s an equine disease that can also infect humans, and a couple of others. All occur in many States throughout the nation even if you don’t hear much about them.

As Joe Conlon, Technical Advisor for the AMCA, points out, “As the world shrinks through trade and tourism, we can expect to be continually challenged by exotic diseases far worse than West Nile Virus only an 8-hour plane flight away.” And, dear reader, your primary line of defense are the unsung heroes of the AMCA, part of the nation’s public health infrastructure, working to combat mosquitoes.

As if mosquitoes weren’t enough to worry about, pest management professionals in New Jersey and throughout the northeast are gearing up to combat Lyme Disease, transmitted by ticks.

A little known fact about ticks is that they also transmit diseases that include babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, bartonella or tularemia. There are, in fact, more than a hundred different strains of Lyme disease and the Northeast is a major region for infections, but it has also been reported in 49 States because more than fifty species of migratory birds spread the tick population in addition to deer and other creatures.

Why am I telling you this? Because Mother Nature in all her glory and beauty has an arsenal of mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches, and other insect species lining up to kill you if they can. Or, at the very least, to make you very ill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is aptly and correctly named. It exists to protect the “environment”, but behind its green doors are people whose war on any pesticide use anywhere demonstrates that they have a greater concern for the welfare of mosquitoes, ticks, and other creatures than for you, your children, or your pets.


Brian G Valentine said...

There are about 600 hard cover books of my own prperty, surrounding me in my study.

All those books are not nearly enough pages to contain all EXISTING EPA regulations.

Now write down some things that EPA has done that have been good for society. Write your answer right here:

whoever let them loose anyway?

Carolyn said...

Hi Mr. Caruba- I do agree that there are many diseases that can be wiped out if people were allowed to spray and keep pests under control.. I live in South West Florida, so I know all about mosquitoes (and also originally hailing from Canada- I know the ones which are the size of birds!) I appreciate when the MC comes by twice a summer in those old DC 10s and dump a bunch of smelly gunk which really puts a dent in the pests for a few weeks.
That said, like government interferance with all things environmental (thinking along with the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers etc.) I do wish they would leave well enough alone! They messed with dear populations here in Florida (the key deer) to cut down on lyme disease- then found out that most deer killed didn't even have the tick. They about wiped out the population, then years later, introduced northern deer to suppliment the bit of population left here. While the population was down, Florida had a decline of other animals which depended on deer. Living out in the boonies in an old house, I am able to witness nature's way of keeping track of itself. When we have our yearly winter residence mice and rats, our house is relatively clear of roaches. When warm weather is back and the furry pests leave for nearby fields- our roach population goes up. We do have a nice assortment of gekko lizards however which love to dine on roaches 3 times their own length! Same goes with snakes which take care of rodents. We had a wild fire here a couple of years ago which cut down on the snakes (poisonous and non) so we have many more mice, rats and bunnies about. Back to mosquitoes though- I love dragon flies, ditch minnows and frogs because they help out on keeping mosquitoes away.
I know we need chemical help- I am not arguing against that, but we really need the government to stay out of buggering with nature- stop saving one species and getting rid of others, or we get terribly out of balance. I love nature, but not at the expense of human life. I believe in the Biblical balance!
God Bless you, and I'm sorry this was so long!

Rich Kozlovich said...

Good article! The EPA and the greenies play the tune and the media sings the song... a song demanding that pesticides be eliminated because of theoretical health claims, while real health disasters are taking place all over the world as a result of greenie policies.

We constantly hear how pesticides must be eliminated because "it's for the children". The question I keep asking is this; if they are so concerned about the health and lives of children in the first world, why do they despise the health and lives of children in the third world so badly?

Children have died or suffered terribly for decades in Africa, Asia, Latin America and South America because of them. They keep telling everyone that we have to go back to nature, yet they all live in countries that are the most modern. They raise their children in what they would have you believe is a world so completely contaminated that it is unfit for human habitation. Why then don’t they take their children and move to areas that have no roads, no cars, no vaccinations, no chlorine in the water, no pesticides for crops and protection from disease transmitting insects, organic farming, no heating or air conditioning and no electricity? There are plenty of areas of the world that fits that description….why don’t they live there if "back to nature" is so great?

Everything the greenies say is a lie of omission, a lie of commission or a logical fallacy; and the media repeats those lies, and what is worse, we find that industry is falling for this stuff. Green used to be a color, now it is an infection…just like gangrene.

Brian G Valentine said...

Hi Rich,

Industry per se isn't falling for the Green pigslop - they are simply displaying (rather covertly)their true color, which is yellow.

Industries behave and advertise the way they do, 1. to make a dollar from it if there is a dollar to be made, 2. Out of fear that Greenpiece and other manure-spreading operations will take out boycott or similar hate campaigns against them if they do not fall in line (or worse, if they publicly state their true thoughts about the environmental "movement.")

What can be done about such extortion? Nothing - and less than nothing when it is actually fueled by Obama adminisrators

tim said...

It seems like, over time, the technology used to kill mosquitoes becomes more focused and less damaging to the environment and our health. Ruining marshlands and using DEET used to be the answer, but now they are developing lasers to eradicate mosquitoes and companies like Mosquito Magnet use CO2 to lure mosquitoes into traps.

Unknown said...

Yeah I hate skeeters but pesticide is unhealthy to me personally causing I flammation and difficulty breathing. I can't use it so I wear bug suits from cabelas. I do t want to breath your poisonso use it on your property only. I don't want the government dumping pesticides on my property either - but I love the traps. They work okay and get rid of some of those nasty things. I wonder what people did 500 years go.