World Mosquito Day

Don't party down in honor of this deadly campsite pest—help eradicate them
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Don't party down in honor of this deadly campsite pest—help eradicate them

You might not have known that today, August 20, is World Mosquito Day. When I mentioned this around the office, the very thought of celebrating the scourge of campers everywhere provoked some strong reactions.

"I'm celebrating by offering citronella massages," said Associate Editor Shannon Davis.

"To celebrate, I’m going to swath myself in head-to-toe mosquito netting, take a DEET bath, and sit out in the buggiest place I can find, daring the bloodsuckers to even try," said Assistant Editor Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan.

Of course, World Mosquito day isn't about feting those biting bastards; it's about raising awareness to fight the bugs, particularly in parts of the world where they spread deadly diseases like malaria (which alone kills more than a million people a year—most of them children). Ronald Ross of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine created the day back in 1897 for this exact reason.

Even here in the U.S., mosquitoes kill with diseases like encephalitis and West Nile virus. But we can fight back, both by eliminating the standing-water habitat in which they breed at home, or by donating to mosquito-net programs abroad. Learn more at the American Mosquito Control Association's www.mosquito.org

Think about it: How many times have those little jerks messed with us in the wild? Isn't it time to bite back?

Share your worst mosquito stories in the comments section below...and just try not to itch while you do it. Also, check out our guide-tested tips for an mosquito-free summer.

—Ted Alvarez

World Mosquito Day (Scientific American)

via Science Is Breakin'

Image Credit: aussiegall