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Jan
11

Why Don’t Mosquitoes Get West Nile Virus?

Why don’t Mosquitoes get sick with West Nile Virus? And why is it that the pesticides used to kill mosquitoes just 10 years ago are now completely ineffective? Why are these annoying little blood suckers so lucky?

It all boils down to their immune system and the evolution of a species. For some reason not yet fully understood, the immune systems of pests have an uncanny ability to protect them from a number of pathogens. Each successive generation has shifted slightly to adjust to environmental factors that threaten their survival and managed to come out healthier and stronger. When you compare it to species that are threatened with extinction, it just doesn’t seem right that an irritating pest adjusts fine and a magnificent, beneficial creature like the threatened Bald Eagle rides the brink of disaster. Not fair!

But let’s look more closely at the differences between a mosquito and an eagle. To begin with, mosquitoes have a gazillion generations each year. In comparison, eagles lay eggs once a year. That in itself is a HUGE difference in the speed in which a species is able to adapt to changes in the environment. Mosquitoes can adjust in the month of June to situations that would take eagles decades to accommodate. Throw in the fact that eagles are warm-blooded makes them even more resistant to change as their metabolism and physical structure are far more complex.

Then if we think about the lifestyle of a mosquito, they are constantly flitting between various creatures, each time exposing themselves to the potential viruses, diseases, etc. in the blood of their victims. This is risky behavior as well as one dimensional so their systems have had to create mechanisms to protect them from the onslaught of potential pathogens. A mosquito can feed on hundreds of different victims in a matter of days. In comparison, the eagle is a Bird of Prey and their diet consists of the entire bodies of warm and cold blooded animals. This is multi-dimensional and the exposure to others’ potential illnesses is much lower as an eagle may only require a few hundred feedings in an entire lifetime.

But when it comes to synthetic pesticides, they are NOT even remotely a part of the evolution of Nature so why have the Bald Eagles almost been wiped out and mosquitoes barely skipped a beat? Again, it is the same reasoning as the pathogens but pesticides are a different threat.

In the world of insects, there is a phenomenon called Pesticide Resistance. Each time a generation of insects is exposed to a pesticide, a certain percentage of the population survives. They then pass that immunity onto their offspring and within a short period of time, the entire pest population is resistant to that chemical toxin. Pesticide Resistance will happen with all synthetic pesticides over a period of time.

In contrast, the rest of the animal kingdom is not so lucky. We cannot become ‘immune’ but instead these chemicals that we absorb, inhale or ingest remain in our bodies – sort of like plastic in the landfill – and cause health issues, degenerative diseases and developmental problems in our bodies and those of our offspring. This is the reason the Bald Eagle faced extinction. DDT bio-accumulated up the food chain to concentrated levels in the eagle and affected their ability to lay structurally sound eggs. They were unable to reproduce successfully due to synthetic pesticides in our environment.

Here the mosquito breezes through adversity only to remain a deadly carrier of disease. What to do? Find their Achilles Heel…

If you use a NATURAL product like Greenbug for People or Greenbug for Outdoors to kill and repel mosquitoes – it cannot become immune. Chemicals aren’t the solution – they are yet another problem. Nature gave us the tools so now we can turn the tables. Greenbug is the ‘green’ way to wipe out bugs!

So take that mosquitoes!

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