Why Did the Creator Make Mosquitoes?

Why did God make mosquitoes? My son was eight years old when he asked that question. Having just spent a week at a riverside camp, he informed me that on his right leg alone he’d counted 61 bites.  Could there be a plausible explanation for the inclusion of the mosquito in the natural world? They carry diseases like malaria and the West Nile virus. 

A Talmud reflection on Genesis 2:1 states “the living God did not create a single thing without a purpose.” Just what might that purpose be for the mosquito?

 Apparently in their larva stage mosquitoes provide food for fish and frogs. The fully formed adults are an important source of nutrients for dragon flies, bats and birds. Like bees, mosquitoes help pollinate flowers and fruit.

Is it possible mosquitoes build character? As we contend with the biting pests do we become stronger people? I once attended an outdoor production of Hamlet on a humid summer evening with about a hundred other people and several million mosquitoes. Ophelia’s funeral was staged in an open field as the sun was setting. I was amazed during that scene at the self-discipline of the cast. While the audience swatted away, the actors appeared completely oblivious to the clouds of insects we could clearly see swirling up around them from the long grass. I imagine that never again in their theatrical career did any obstacle seem insurmountable to those actors. After all they had survived performing Hamlet, while legions of annoying creatures flew in their faces and feasted on their blood. Perhaps mosquitoes help strengthen our ability to put mind over matter.

The city of Winnipeg began fogging for mosquitoes last night. One benefit of mosquitoes is the valuable and thought-provoking dialogue they inspire between urban residents over the pros and cons of fogging with chemicals as an effective means of pest control. Every summer hundreds of homeowners in cities request exemption from various insect management programs because they are concerned about possible hazards to their own health and that of the environment. As stewards of the earth, we are called to weigh both chemical and more natural options carefully. Mosquitoes force people to think seriously about how they will wisely use their power over other living things.   At the Winnipeg Folk Festival apparently they release thousands of dragon flies as a natural way to control the mosquito population.          

The writer C. S. Lewis once commented during a discussion on the possible immortality of animal souls that “ a heaven for mosquitoes and a hell for humans could be conveniently combined.” Was he right or can we find ways to peacefully coexist with the irritating insects? Why does our world include mosquitoes?

Other posts about animals…….

Swimming with Manatees

Hong Kong Frogs That Sound Like Cows Bellowing

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bison

 

 

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3 Comments

Filed under Nature, Religion

3 responses to “Why Did the Creator Make Mosquitoes?

  1. Interesting and timely post. While reading this, I scratch the mosquito bites on my ankles and neck and have the same question as your son.

  2. Sorry to disillusion you but the dragon flies that show up at Folkfest arrive all on their own. They are not released by anyone, at least not anyone human. I am a campground host Bird’s Hill. This is my second year. I have had the truth explained by the staff here. A few years ago someone remarked about the clouds of dragon flies in the presence of a park interpreter. As a joke, he said the park had released them just for Folkfest. Unfortunately, the joke was taken as a fact by a reporter and it was published in one of Winnipeg’s newspapers. Every effort by the park staff since then to convince people that this comment was a joke has failed. The truth is actually much more interesting. Dragon fly larvae hunt mosquito larvae and pupae. Dragon fly larvae go through metamorphosis and leave the water to become airborne mosquito hunters a week or so after specific species of mosquitos also take to the air and the numbers of these specific mosquito species is particularly thick. Dragon flies hunt mosquitos. Mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide exhaled by humans. Wherever you get a collection of humans exhaling carbon dioxide, you will attract mosquitos. Wherever you get mosquitos, you will get dragon flies following to hunt them down. Since the festival tends to coincide with the time dragon flies are just becoming airborne from all the protected waters in the park they have been spending their larvae stage in, it appears that there is an abrupt massive increase in dragon flies at festival time. If I were a hungry dragon fly I could certainly think of no better place to hunt mosquitos than the air above a festival. And so it seems like a huge release of dragon flies has occurred but it is really just nature correcting the balance of prey and predator. This is also why spraying for mosquitos is not a really great idea. In two or three weeks those clouds of dragon flies in the park will have dramatically reduced the mosquito population in Bird’s Hill. The very high numbers of certain mosquito species that explode out in early summer will also end because those types are done their life cycle for the year. Other less vicious and less abundant types will take their turn instead. Winnipeg will be left dead dragon flies, lots of leftover mosquitos and it will have to depend on its poisons to do the job that should have been left to the dragon flies. Clouds of new mosquitos will simply move in from elsewhere into the now nicely dragon fly free zone full of people exhaling carbon dioxide.

    • Thanks for the information. I thought I’d checked my facts. I found reference to the dragon fly release in several different places and a number of people who are long time Folk Festival attendees mentioned it too, but I guess my sources were all also duped by the park interpreter’s joke. Thanks for taking the time to explain the very fascinating REAL story behind the dragon flies.

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