Hardy Jackson’s Alabama
A world without mosquitoes?
The weather is warming.
Mosquito season is upon us.
I hate mosquitoes.
More to the point, I hate female mosquitoes.
They are the ones who suck your blood.
They are the ones that leave the itchy, throbbing welt that just plain hurts.
They are the ones that carry diseases that kill more people around the world than any other animal – except the human ones – every year.
Now I know mosquitoes are God’s creation like other living things, but I sorta wonder that maybe God created mosquitoes as part of one of the plagues he smote the Egyptians with back in Moses’ time? And when He was cleaning up afterward He forgot to undo what He had done and mosquitoes slipped through the cracks.
Once out, there was no stopping them.
Every summer throughout the South mosquitoes swarm out of stagnant water that collects in cans and drains and pots and troughs. Mosquitoes love it.
Help, however, might be on the way.
According to those who should know, scientists are on the brink of creating “A World Without Mosquitoes.”
Yessir, a world without something I hate, not to mention a thing that kills people, sounds like a pretty good world to me.
Well, molecular geneticists are working on a way to create a lethal mutation and insert it into the DNA of male mosquitoes, rendering them sterile. Then the males would go out and breed. But there would be no offspring. Called the “sterile insect technique,” it is something like giving vasectomies to male mosquitoes and ending the line once and for all.
I recall some years ago when the fruit fly was wrecking havoc on the Florida orange crop scientists proposed catching thousands of fruit flies, zapping them with something to make them sterile, then sending them out into the world not to reproduce.
Not sure how that has worked, but there seems to be plenty of orange juice in the stores.
However, the fruit fly plan was small stuff compared to a program that would create “a world without mosquitoes.”
Of course, there are a few hitches in process.
Consider the economic consequences. If mosquitoes are eradicated, companies that make mosquito repellants will go under, jobs will be lost, families will go hungry, and politicians will feed on the anger.
It could happen.
And there is the ethical question.
Should we drive a whole species to extinction?
We have done it before but usually as a consequence of habitat destruction, over hunting, and such.
This would be a program calculated to remove one of God’s creatures from the face of the earth.
Think about it.
If mosquitoes are part of the Lord’s Plan, who are we to interfere?
But remember those Egyptian plagues?
What if God was just so busy getting the Children of Israel to the Promised Land that He forgot to tidy up the mosquito mess?
An oversight that we can rectify.
But should we?
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.