Buzz Buzz! Here’s Why Mosquitoes Are Actually Important For Our Environment

Did you know the oldest mosquito fossils date back 200 million years?

Probably all of us have been bitten by a mosquito at some time.  These blood thirsty nuisance insects can drive a person or an animal crazy with their biting.

In addition to the annoying discomfort of a mosquito bite the mosquito can cause harmful even deadly diseases.  Mosquitoes can transmit yellow fever, malaria or dengue fever to humans.  Many people die each year from diseases caused by the mosquito. The mosquito can transmit other deadly diseases to pets and livestock and other animals.  In fact, mosquitoes may be the deadliest insects on earth.

There are approximately 3,500 known species of mosquitoes.  Only about 200 species will annoy humans and even fewer of these species will bite.

If we did not have the mosquitoes spreading some diseases among the animals it is possible the animal population would drastically increase. Overpopulation can lead to starvation and death.  The lowly mosquito helps alleviate the problem of animal over population.

There are a few good things attributed to the mosquito.   Mosquitoes are at the low end of the food chain.  They make nutritious food and snacks for fish, bats and birds as well as other animals.  The mosquito larvae are aquatic insects and are an important part of the aquatic food chain.  Mosquito larvae are food for frogs, reptiles, spiders and other insects.

Mosquitoes act to clean and filter the environment.  They will feed on decaying leaves, organic debris and microbes.  The mosquito larvae while in the water feeds on the debris that floats and clogs the surface of the water.  This debris can choke off the oxygen and nitrates needed for the plants below it to survive.  Unless the mosquitoes are available to eat the waste the aquatic plants that support the ecosystem could not survive.

When traveling through barren areas the migrating birds depend on mosquitoes as a source of food to sustain them.  Without the mosquitoes for food it is likely fewer birds would survive the migration through the barren areas.

The male mosquito does not feed on blood.  Instead he needs the sugar found in plant nectar.  This results in the mosquito helping to pollinate plants especially in subarctic climates like northern Canada and Russia. In other regions the butterflies and bees outperform the mosquito when it comes to pollination.

Even though the mosquito is extremely annoying and can be dangerous it is not known what effect there would be on the environment if mosquitoes were somehow eliminated.  We are not even sure we are aware of all the functions mosquitoes are able to perform and all the contributions they are making to the environment. If there are no mosquitoes is there another insect that will be able to replace the positive contributions of the mosquito?