We moved into our new house a little over a month ago. The roof gutters had several years’ of accumulated rubbish – mainly rotting gum-tree leaves. The result was that water couldn’t drain away and the roof gutters became a breeding place for mosquitoes. Presently our dog is the worst victim of these pesky little predators. She sleeps outside at night and for the mozzies that meant ‘party time’ as they feasted nightly on dog’s blood. It has left our poor dog with a red-raw snout from these insect bites.
One of the grandchildren put it well. “Why did God create mosquitoes?”
That’s a good question – especially since mosquito bites also do their share of spreading diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. This led me to do some research to see whether or not these little blighters serve any useful purpose in God’s creation. In other words: would the ecology of our world would be affected in any way if all mosquitoes were suddenly to disappear off the face of the earth?
In the process I discovered some fascinating information. There are some 3500 species of mosquito – only a few hundred of which actually bite human beings. And it’s only female mosquitoes that bite you. Okay? So if you see a male mosquito hovering around you can safely ignore it…! The females need the protein from your blood (hemoglobin) in order to produce eggs. That may enable you to think a little more kindly of mozzies. By letting them bite you, you are actually assisting in their procreation. I’m sure that already makes you feel much better.
I found it interesting that mosquitoes serve a useful purpose in the food chain. Their larvae in the ponds and lakes are feed for fish. The insects themselves are food for birds such as swallows. In sensitive areas, such as within the Arctic Circle, they even help preserve the ecology of wetlands by causing herds of elk and other animals to avoid the wetlands where clouds of mosquitoes are a deterrent.
Okay – so some things would change if mosquitoes were suddenly to disappear. However there is a more important issue. Were Adam and Eve in Paradise ever bitten by mosquitoes? After all there was plenty of bare flesh to attack. The question is whether, in a creation that God declared to be “very good”, there were mosquitoes? Martin Luther seemed to think that God created them after The Fall.
I don’t know the answer to that question. I did find though, on the website of the Institute for Creation Research, a helpful article in which they mention that there are plants, the leaves of which have a substance that would provide the female mosquito with the same protein for egg-production as they presently obtain from animal and human blood. Their theory is that before the fall the mosquito sucked that protein from leaves the way an aphid sucks sap from plants. They state that their research is continuing.
Will there be mosquitoes in God’s new restored creation? I don’t know. I do know that every mosquito bite is a reminder that we live in a fallen world – a fall that happened because of human rebellion against God. Meanwhile I’m called to exercise my dominion over creation by preventing the mozzies from breeding in my roof gutters and by putting out some mozzie traps to protect our dog.