The Infamous Pest
The history of extreme mosquito problems dates back to 1881. Mosquitos are known to be one of the most bothersome and dangerous insects on the planet earth. These predators are accountable for more deaths than any other animal on the planet. Pretty terrifying to think about.
The reason that this is considered a true war against mosquitos is because of it’s extensive history. For over a century humans have developed what we thought were break-through solutions to eliminating mosquitos but they always seem to return.
It is believed that mosquitos originated in South Africa 46 million years ago. The spread of mosquitos gradually continued to spread all over the world. Overtime the mosquito evolved to the point of having over 3,500 different species.
The discovery that mosquitos can transmit yellow fever was discovered by United States Army doctor Walter Reed.
The first major breakthrough in killing the insect was made in 1993. A Swiss chemist by the name of Paul Müller discovered that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane kills mosquitos. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT is a chemical compound that was very powerful for use in insecticides.
It was later discovered that the chemical DDT was extremely harmful to humans and the environment. While the chemical seemed worth it, the risks simply were not. In fact, mosquitos developed immunity to the chemical
It may have taken too long but it eventually became clear that DDT was considered way too toxic to continue using it. The US banned DDT for all insecticide use.
Permethrin, a synthetic insecticide was introduced as a better alternative to mosquito elimination. Again mosquitos build resistance to these chemical compounds and the whole cycle begins again.
The insecticide bed net was invented. This bed net was mainly used in African countries to prevent being bitten during sleep. The bed net was a bust!
Dengue outbreak in Brazil.
Studies on the mosquito become more advanced and scientists discover what attracts mosquitos to humans. These discoveries eventually led to the production of traps for mosquitos.
An Australian University Professor named Scott O’Neill discovered an insect bacterium that can block mosquitos passing dengue to humans.
Scientists consider selective breeding of mosquitos that do not transmit deadly diseases and may kill off deadly mosquitos.
The International Atomic Energy fights Zika virus by funding projects to help with the research and development for stopping mosquitos.