Why have we not been able to eradicate mosquitoes completely?



Why have we not been able to eradicate mosquitoes completely?

In: Biology

Mosquitoes are a prey species. They exist just to lay eggs and make more mosquitoes.

So although we have been doing our best to knock out mosquitoes more mosquitoes are going to be created.

However, the extinction of mosquitoes is not all good – it will lead to the decline of all species that prey on them and force them to eat other foods, leading to a collapse of the food chain.

There are a number of reasons, but the main ones being that they are extremely widespread and that there are something like 3000 different species of mosquitoes. Wiping out that many different species spread out over so much of the world’s surface is no small job.

There is also the environmental impact. Any pesticide that could wipe out a species of mosquito is bound to have other negative effects, and that’s generally something we want to avoid. Furthermore, we have no idea how it would affect the local ecosystems to simply remove a species. Scientists are actually very concerned about what could happen if we do that.

But there is hope. A year or two ago scientists were able to genetically modify a couple different mosquito species in such a way that it makes them incapable of reproducing. They were planning to introduce them into a couple of isolated areas to test it out and see what happens as a result. Depending on how that works out, they believe they can actually effectively eradicate malaria-bearing species of mosquitoes within ten years.

We have the technology to do it but we don’t know what the environmental consequences would be so we haven’t yet.

I’m not too well versed on the subject, but have we even attempted to eradicate all mosquitoes?

I think mosquitoes might play a role where helpful or harmless viruses are concerned, but someone else would have to clarify.

The problem is, life finds a way.

Mosquitoes can evolve resistance to insecticides. This happened with DDT, and it happens with other insecticides.

Also, insecticides and other methods of killing mosquitoes don’t only affect mosquitoes. They can end up doing stuff like poisoning birds, like DDT did.

A big problem is that you can’t eradicate mosquitoes in one place. Say Country A manages to totally eradicate a problem species, but there are still mosquitoes of that species in Country B. Mosquitoes from Country B will be able to colonize Country A and re-establish the species. It’s obvious how this could happen if the countries share a land border, but it can happen even if they don’t. We think the Asian tiger mosquito hitched a ride on a shipment of used tires from Japan to the US.

You need to get cooperation between many countries to eradicate a widespread species of mosquito, and that’s not always easy to do.