The mosquito's history is as old as time itself. It is hard to say how far back the mosquito stories go, but verifying their effect on humanity is not hard. Early explorers faced many challenges from mosquitos when attempting to establish new territories abroad.
Five ships in 1698 left Scotland bound for the Darien region of Panama to start a southern import/exporting trading hub. The vessel transported many families, animals, and goods for trade to establish southern trading routes to rival the Portuguese trading industry, which dominated in the 1600s. However, upon landing, the expedition met with new unforeseen challenges. Sickness and fever overwhelmed the small group, and death followed quickly.
Colonists began almost immediately to be sickened with yellow fever and strains of malaria and began to die at the rate of a dozen a day. So much so that the expedition eventually headed back north within six months to escape the onslaught of today's most relentless backyard pest. "The Dreaded Mosquito."
Mosquito-Borne Diseases Through the Ages
The pages of history are filled with stories of death and suffering caused unknowingly by mosquito-borne diseases. And yet human beings lived with and died from mosquito-borne diseases for thousands of years without understanding how they affected us. Literature tells of the history of the mosquito's effects on early civilization. And we have rewritten the stories of miraculous war victories that today can be attributed "not to the gods" but to the mosquito-spreading disease throughout the ranks of opposing armies.
Civilization has recorded the attack on humanity as far back as our written records go. German missionaries told of visiting the southern parts of the new Americas and wrote of their visit in the spring as a beautiful and pleasant paradise, in the summer months as hot as the fires of hell, and in the wintertime, a fever-filled hospital. The stories of malaria, yellow fever, and unimaginable sickness have long filled the pages of the history of the early adventurers.
As far back as 94 B.C., the Chinese historian Sima Qian wrote, "In the area south of the Yangtze river in the low lands where the climate is humid that the adult males die very young." Fever and sickness delivered by the common mosquito are believed to be the culprit. Hippocrates associated malaria's late-summer surge with the Dog Star, calling the sickly time the "dog days of summer." A common term used in America to describe hot and humid summer days.
Florence Nightingale wrote of the Pointe Marshes, a low land region near Rome, as "the valley of the shadow of death." because of the ravaging effects mosquito-borne fever played upon the farmers and the soldiers in the low wetlands.
Military historians claim that the cause of death and sickness on the battlefield caused by mosquitoes outweighed the casualties of actual combat. And there are numerous reports of armies using this knowledge to their advantage. They may not have understood the culprit entirely, but they knew the connection between stagnant water, heat, fever, and death.
Military strategists in the past have used mosquitoes as blunt weapons of war. At Walcheren, Napoleon breached dikes to create stagnant flood waters —the ensuing malaria epidemic killed four thousand English soldiers. Napoleon stated, "We must oppose the English with nothing but the dreaded fever, which will soon devour them all." They understood the connection and used this knowledge to win battles. As a result, endemic malaria has often acted as a local curse and a strange sort of protector against invading armies. Fifteen centuries before, the Scottish tried to colonize Panama. A malaria strain thwarted them back to Scotland and is estimated to have killed half of the eighty thousand soldiers sent their way.
Mosquitoes carrying endemic fever strains decimated Hannibal's forces as they made their way through Italy. They also turned the armies of Genghis Khan away from southern Europe. The mosquito also prevented European crusaders from conquering the Holy Land. The role played in history by the mosquitos' conquest is one of horror and death.
Defense Against Mosquitoes
Outside of war in everyday life, how did early humans deal with the mosquito issue? First, they defended themselves by staying close to the fire and burning aromatic plants to drive them back. They would keep smoke fires burning day and night to drive them away.
Not until the early 19th century did we scientifically connect that malaria was transmitted from mosquitos. Before scientific findings, fevers, sweats, and death were believed to be gods' curses. The idea that a tiny insect could play such an enormous role in human history was hard to accept. However, once we understood the culprit, we went to work to eliminate the spread of this dreaded disease. With the advent of modern medicines, we have successfully closed the chapter on history's worse menace.
Thankfully, Otis Pest Control has a proven mosquito control system that keeps my family comfortable and mosquito-free, allowing us to enjoy our beautiful yard all summer. Our highly qualified technicians understand that all mosquitoes require water to breed, so extermination and population control require an integrated approach involving chemical treatment and removing standing water sources. Our comprehensive mosquito management program works with homeowners to exterminate mosquitoes and prevention, helping to reduce the conditions that lead to mosquito infestation.
We begin by thoroughly inspecting your property to identify potential mosquito breeding locations. We then apply an EPA-registered pesticide to kill mosquitoes on contact and to provide lasting mosquito control results. Treatments extend to bushes, under leaves, and some grass areas along the perimeter of your house. These treatments are proven safe for plants and pets, so you need not be concerned about your garden landscaping and pets.
When your family's enjoyment and safety are at stake, it's good to know that Otis Pest Control Services are here to serve you and are a quick call away. So contact us today for a free mosquito evaluation, and start enjoying your yard again. And now you know a little history of everyone's number one backyard nuisance and its role in humanity.
Otis Termite & Pest Control is a full-service pest control company with a focus on outstanding service. We have been serving the East Tennessee area for over 56 years and our reputation is built on prompt and effective service. We’re good at what we do and we’re fast. We do the job right the first time – and that’s an actual guarantee!