If you thought that last summer was a little heavy on the mosquitos, you’d be right. The mosquito population has increased nearly tenfold over the past 50 years, with numbers soaring in heavily populated urban areas. The rising mosquito population can be attributed to a number of different environmental changes, leading to some disturbing side effects for the human population. Discover the real threat behind the world’s booming mosquito population.
What’s happening to the Global Mosquito Population
So why are there so many mosquitos buzzing around? The largest contributing factor is the demise of a chemical known as DDT. A powerful insecticide, DDT was credited—and blamed—for killing off all sorts of living creatures. So the pesky mosquitos took a hit, but so did other animals, like much-loved hawks and eagles. In the 1970s, DDT was banned throughout the U.S. and much of the world because of its harsh effect on the environment. With DDT mostly off the market, mosquitos are once again in full-on party mode.
Climate change is another suspected culprit. Warming temperatures mean that mosquitos are moving to new regions of the world. Without the cold to scare them away, mosquitos are starting to invade areas that were previously considered safe zones. Rising sea levels and the increase in precipitation are also leading to more standing water, which is a terrific breeding ground for mosquitos.
The Rapid Spread of Disease
In addition to ruining otherwise pleasant outdoor activities like camping, a rising mosquito population means that diseases will spring up and spread at a faster rate. Last summer, the Zika virus dominated the news cycles, and more infectious diseases are likely to follow. International travel may be limited as governments all over the world grapple with the challenges of modern disease control. Certain parts of the world may be off limits as the scientific community tries to get a hold on where these diseases are coming from and how they can be stopped.
Urban areas will be more at risk. Mosquitos are growing at a faster rate in cities. Certain species of mosquitos love to feed on the blood of humans and urban areas are basically an all-you-can-eat buffet. Major airports also happen to be located in urban areas, making it that much more difficult to contain another outbreak.
Taking Precautions Everywhere We Go
We will all have to get used to living in the Age of the Mosquito. This means getting rid of standing water, lathering ourselves in insect repellent, and investing in high-quality nets and screens. Staying indoors in the summer will become more common as the threat of disease becomes an everyday reality. Bare skin will be another casualty in the coming years. Say goodbye to your short-shorts and cover up instead!
If we’re going to survive this hostile takeover of the planet, everyone is going to have to work together.
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