Unpopular opinion: Spare the mosquitos


Getty Images

Mosquitos search for nectar and serve as the storks of the floral world, carrying pollen from plant to plant.

By Lucy Atkinson, Opinion Columnist

Their buzz is a horrifying sound and their kiss an itching nuisance. The mosquito is undoubtedly one of the most hated creatures of the animal kingdom. But when you run into people you find annoying, you don’t kill them, do you? 

When I was little, about nine and just getting into the joys of writing, I decided I wanted to write a book called “Red.” Red, I had decided, was going to follow the story of a young girl sparing and befriending a common mosquito. In the end, and unsurprisingly, this fourth-grader’s story was a lost cause, but the belief that killing mosquitos is unnecessary has followed me well into this day. 

Rather than ending the hungry fly’s life, I prefer to swat it away, wear bug spray or simply sacrifice that half-drop of my blood that it wants. Miraculously, I am still alive today. 

Why spare the mosquito? This little insect, it turns out, is quite the important figure in the natural world. It’s a pollinator! Right alongside bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators, mosquitos dance atop flowers in search of nectar and serve as the storks of the floral world, carrying pollen from plant to plant. 

This act, as do many others done by animals we favor less, seems to go unnoticed by humanity. It is only when the mosquitos themselves wish to reproduce that they gain our attention, as well as our wrath. 

In fact, the bug we are all so terrified of is specifically a female mosquito, sporting her long, infamous proboscis, that needle-like nose she sucks blood with. Male mosquitoes do not bite people, or any animal for that matter, at all. Not only is their feather duster-esque proboscis incapable of piercing skin, but their fuzzy antennae (which work to sense the movements of nearby females) make them look almost moth-like and, arguably, rather cute. 

That’s half the mosquito population already undeserving of our aggression. 

But do these “blood-thirsty” females really deserve our anger either? For most of their lives they also go about making flowers happy. Only when they have eggs in need of protein (which our blood is chock-full of), do they come to us harboring that one simple request. 

We may not like mosquitos, but an itchy welt, which on average only lasts a few days, won’t kill you. Squishing the mosquito in a fit of rage will kill it. Maybe it’s time to be the bigger person.