A goddamned mosquito just bit me on my face in my own house because I live in Florida and it’s impossible to get away from these little fuckers. Now, we’re about to get a tropical storm so there will be lots of standing water around and there will be a bunch of mosquito sex and mosquito babies and I will have to wear Deep Woods Off just to walk the dog.
Mosquitoes are always a problem here in Florida – we’re used to it. The sound of the mosquito truck driving by at night, spraying whatever magic poison they’re spraying, is oddly soothing believe it or not because you think maybe you won’t get eaten alive while you’re getting the mail. Floridians are also accustomed to the threat of all the nasty diseases that mosquitoes carry and the staph infections people get when they scratch the bites (this is pretty common and it’s gross).
[Florida tourism officials should pay me to write the I-95 rest stop brochures.]
We walk around all greasy and stinking like oven cleaner, sporting festering sores from old bites, trying not to think too hard about that shit coming out of the magic mosquito trucks because we sort of don’t want to know. We just want these nasty little motherf*ckers and their babies to die. And now, with the GMO mosquito, there might be a way to kill a bunch of the ones that carry Zika without drenching ourselves and our children in chemicals but of-fucking-course, the same groups who hate DEET and the mosquito trucks and vaccines and GMOs and probably toilet paper are thrashing around all apoplectic about the idea of a genetically modified bug coming to the rescue because they either don’t understand it or they don’t want to risk positive press about something that’s a GMO (gasp).
The GMO mosquito was genetically modified by scientists at a British company, Oxitec (now owned by a company called Intrexon which sounds like an evil Spider-Man corporation so great job on that one, guys.) Anyway, these scientists modified the mosquito that carries a bunch of nasty stuff like Zika, Dengue, yellow fever, etc., to pass along a gene to its offspring that so that the offspring will die before they mature. Oxitec only releases male mosquitoes (which don’t bite), the males find the females (which do bite), they mate, have babies and the babies die. Sad for mosquito moms and dads, good for human moms and dads (and human babies) because that causes the mosquito population to collapse. Fewer mosquitoes means it’s way harder to transmit diseases. Kill the vectors and the virus goes away. What’s your vector, Victor? (I cannot say ‘vector’ without thinking that.)
This mosquito is awesome and I want to release thousands in the ditch behind my house but here is what the whiny fuckwits who oppose it are saying:
Friends of Earth: Waaaah, the mosquitoes might mess up the ecosystem. What will birds eat? We just don’t knooooow. *handwringing*
Answer: It’s an invasive species. Florida doesn’t need it. Birds will eat another type of mosquito or bug because -oh dear god -have you people ever been to Florida? The whole fucking state is bird food.
Center for Food Safety: People might ingest the mosquito. That makes it food so we should definitely get involved in this. For food safety reasons. *shifty eyes* This has nothing to do with our careers being based on demonizing genetically engineered food. We swear. *whistles*
Answer: First of all, don’t eat fucking mosquitoes and if you do happen to eat a bunch of mosquitoes, what’s the difference between eating a traditional gross mosquito and a GMO mosquito when you swallow it and it goes into your stomach? Does the Center for Food safety think you become a mosquito? If I eat my Goldendoodle, will I become a dog?
Institute of Responsible Technology’s Jeffrey Smith: Mosquito saliva could change the gene pool of future generations. I don’t know what that means but I am a ballroom dancer who wrote a book about seeds so I am an expert.
Answer: Oxitec only releases the males which don’t bite. Also, WHAT? Smith is trying to scare people with remote, made-up bullshit about bug spit when there is a mosquito causing real life diseases that humans are getting here in Real People World.
Joseph Mercola: Zika is a fraud and GMO mosquitoes will give you herpes. Also, a Zika vaccine will kill you and the spraying will give you autism. Luckily for you, I sell bug spray in my huge online store.
Erin at Health Nut News: Joe Mercola is my boyfriend so you should buy his bug spray. And my book.
Answer: Mercola and Erin are wrong about everything. Whatever they say, do the opposite. Mercola’s entire career is based on undermining trust in the CDC, the FDA, and family doctors. These two are public health menaces who make money off of scaring people. Period. Look at Mercola’s store and at how many times he’s been in trouble with the FDA and the FTC for making shit up. He sold $4000 tanning beds for anti-aging. (I can’t even make a joke about these two.)
Mike Adams of Natural News: Conspiracies are my jam. Yay for Zika which is a hoax just like AIDS and climate change. Big Pharma something..something..bleargh. By the way, buy my DEET-free bug spray at my huge online store! It’s better than Mercola’s!
Answer: A person who gives credence to conspiracies about Sandy Hook and calls AIDS a hoax should not be a go-to person for guidance on mosquito control. Or medical advice. I wouldn’t even ask this guy for directions to the Jiffy mart.
So, here we are. Zika is spreading in Florida. Women who are pregnant are worried. This is a real problem that’s happening right now and the scientists and grown-ups are trying to address it but the conspiracy nuts who legitimately believe essential oils cure everything are doing to their best to make it impossible by trying to scare people about every possible solution. From the GMO mosquito and aerial spraying to DEET or a hypothetical vaccine, all they have to offer us is fear, lies, or a link to their online store. Meanwhile, people are getting sick and I have a fucking mosquito bite on my face.