A sharing by Ling Sing Lin
If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.
I dislike mosquitoes . Ok, most people do. I kill them whenever I have the chance to. I have a personal grievance as I contracted dengue from a mosquito bite in Sri Lanka.
Disease bearing Insects
Mosquitoes are a nuisance. Their bites cause itchy bumps in the skin. What is worse, they cause diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya, yellow fever, elephantiasis, Japanese encephalitis, Zika, amongst others less familiar in this part of the world.
This is because mosquitoes, while feeding blood from any organism, often swallow bacteria, parasites or viruses present in that organism, which they pass to the next victim. They themselves however are not affected negatively by these organisms.
Why do Mosquitoes Exist?
Although they seem pointless and purely irritating and cause diseases, they do play an important ecological role. Mosquitoes are important in the food chain, serving as food for fish in the larval state and as food in the adult flying state for other insects, birds, bats and frogs. Some species are important pollinators.
Do you know?
—Mosquitoes are cold blooded and unable to regulate their body temperature. They thrive at temperatures of 80 degrees F, grow lethargic when temperatures fall below 60 degrees F, and cannot function below 50 degrees F. They either die or go dormant. Remember the pre-air conditioning days when we had to sleep under mosquito nets?
—If you have many plants in the garden, there is a greater chance of mosquito breeding. Even the concave shape of some leaves allow small raindrops to accumulate on the leaves, the female mosquito lays eggs in that tiny bit of moisture, the moisture dries up, and just a slight drizzle will cause the eggs to hatch!
—Elephantiasis is a disease we hardly see in Singapore today. One cause is through mosquito transmission, where the filariasis parasites block lymphatics and cause often the upper or lower limb to swell to elephantine proportions if the disease is neglected. It is still seen in poor third world regions.
—People with hypersensitivity to mosquito bites (and other insect bites) can develop papular urticaria, which are chronic itchy hard nodules due to mosquito bites,
Moral of the Story
Going back to the African proverb, yes, the mosquito’s impact is much greater than its insignificant size. And this impact of the mosquito, from the human selfish perspective, is way more negative than positive. But as humans, we can always turn the impact we make in the world to a positive outcome. If not to the whole world, then to your community or to your family. Even if you think you are small and insignificant.