For many homeowners around the globe, we follow a simple rule: if there’s an uninvited insect in our home, we kill it — preferably with the help of someone else. No one wants to touch something gross, right?
Although in some circumstances it is an absolute necessity to get rid of the intruder, some of our creepy-crawly friends can benefit our livelihood.
Lions, Tigers and… Mosquitoes?
Whenever we envision a ferocious animal that could take our life without blinking an eye, we often imagine a 4-legged predator stalking us from the tall grass or from behind a boulder. But what if we were to tell you that one of the most dangerous foes on the planet is smaller than a penny?
Although this may sound like a funny joke to tell at a party, scientists are now warning of the dangers that mosquitoes play in our society.
The threat from a mosquito comes in how small and non-threatening they appear to the naked eye. They’re annoying, sure, but other than a sudden itch, what’s the big deal? The error in our thinking is the misunderstanding of how disease and famine are spread through the insect’s thirst for blood.
Mosquitoes, quite literally, hunt us down by detecting the carbon dioxide that we exhale when we breathe. This gas acts as a dinner bell for nearby mosquitoes in warm, humid climates. The mosquito then lands on our body and produces a numbing sensation through its saliva that allows it to puncture the surface of our skin and extract blood.
The whole process can take seconds and we’re only aware of the fact after the area becomes red, inflamed and itchy. Before we know it, the mosquito has made its way to our other guests, mixing blood and spreading unwanted disease and illness.
Although this sounds like the plot of a horror movie (The Texas Mosquito Massacre), it happens to all of us in the warmer months when we head to the lake or river to cool off.
The danger presents itself when the mosquito starts looking for blood: mosquitoes are notorious for acting as carriers of major diseases like Yellow Fever, Malaria and Zika — all of which have claim millions of lives.
The spread of these lethal diseases can be linked, largely, to the increased population of mosquitoes and their incessant need for blood.
A Small, Unlikely Ally
Sure, we can learn to live with the mosquitoes: apply bug spray, contact a pest expert and spray our household, but what else can be done? Although it may seem counterintuitive of our sudden interest in getting rid of pests, small lizards (salamanders and newts) have been used as an alternative means to fight back against our mosquito enemy.
Homeowners are now keeping our scaly friends inside of their homes as opposed to killing them or throwing them back into nature on account of their love for insects. A lizards diet, generally speaking, consists of small, bite-sized insects and arachnids that find their way into dark, damp areas.
Given the opportunity and free reign inside your home, a small lizard can thwart off the dangers of unwanted mosquito invasions! Alright, maybe the mosquitoes don’t band together with war-like tactics and strategies, but they’re annoying all the same.
Risks and Warnings
If your family owns pets such as dogs, cats or small rodents, a lizard in the home may not be the best idea. Instead, resort to the traditional approach of contacting a pest expert who can consult with you about various options that combat against mosquito problems.
Similarly, lizards can be quite creepy to the average person. Imagine throwing a party only to have a frantic guest notify you of a lizard infestation in your basement. How would you try to explain that you’ve been growing an army of amphibians to combat against the mosquitoes in some sort of reptile Game of Thrones.
Although they’re highly effective in removing the danger of mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, lizard inhabitants can be quite unsightly. Readers should also note that lizards require a warm, damp environment in which to thrive and flourish. If your home is often cold and dry, your lizard friends might have a hard time protecting the premises.
To put all of this information into one, bite-sized chunk: don’t get rid of the lizards around your property! Contrary to popular belief, the biggest pest on the planet is not our eight-legged friends, snakes or the swarm of bees that won’t leave you alone — they’re smaller than that.
The future of our society and general health rely on keeping mosquitoes, and the array of problems they cause, at bay. If you see a lizard moseying around your garden or strolling through a pantry, give a small smile and go about your business. Your home and your health will benefit from that small action in the years to come.