Mankind’s Greatest Predator
As humanity broke through the paleolithic we were leaving behind a variety of medieval predators that stalked and killed us for thousands of years.
Real-life monsters like the short-faced bear that was larger than any bear on the planet today. This bear had long legs and was impossible for early man to outrun. without a group, it would have been nearly impossible to fend off.
We could also talk about the American lion. No, not the smilodon or the sabertoothed cat, though we had to deal with those. The American lion is exactly what it sounds like.
The American lion dominated the prairies and plains of North America during the Paleolithic period and you better believe we were on the menu. These lions were larger than those that live today and some would have topped out at 800 pounds!
Despite the size and ferocity of these larger beasts the ultimate human predator through history, by a long shot, has been the tiny mosquito.
Lets put it into context. According to The Mosquito A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator by Timothy C. Winegard, mosquitos have killed an estimated 52 billion people throughout their entire history. The book also mentions that the number is higher than the deaths in all of the wars ever fought!
The History of Mosquito Management
Mosquitoes and the diseases they carried held such influence that early world explorers would forgo areas based on populations of mosquitoes!
No amount of slavery or bloodshed has kept human greed in check but when explorers reached areas of Africa, that they believed held gold, they were forced to turn around rather than face the swarm!
The awesome power of mosquitoes even extended into North America.
While you might think of Malaria as a tropical disease, it was out of control in America until the use of DDT all but eliminated its existence in the states by 1951.
This was a federal solution put together by an organization that would have been the equivalent of the CDC at that time.
Of course, the use of DDT was found to be killing mosquitoes, animals, birds and even people! Lets put it this way: it was a little too efficient.
Localities all across the nation are still spraying various insecticides to keep mosquito populations at bay. The modern take on managing mosquito populations is a balancing act of ecological intelligence and efficacy of the pesticide.
Mass communications have allowed local governments to send reminders out on how to manage conditions and harborage for mosquitoes on their property.
Of course, these actions are left up to the public but every bucket that gets flipped and every tire emptied of standing water makes an impact on the bigger picture of mosquito populations.
Overall, not much has changed over thousands of years. If mosquito populations get out of control disease will spread and it will spiral out of control as it has many times throughout history.
The 2019 chapter of humanity could be brought to its knees just as easily as any other by swarms of uncontrollable mosquitoes that would kill millions, disrupt commerce, disable the supply chain and level the medical establishments with radical demand for medications.
Mosquitos on the Trail
My bugout bag is my get home bag is my camping bag. Confused?
With a few very minor additions, I use a Velox II by 3Vgear, my bag can serve as three bags instead of packing three separate bags with similar gear. I can only carry one at a time!
My first bugout bag was pretty funny when I look back.
- Cheap Amazon backpack
- High-quality binoculars
- A really bad knife
- First aid
- Katadyn hiker pro
- Jet Boil
- Dry food
I probably had some paracord in there, too! Oh, and a tact bivvy my mother in law bought me.
No maps of anything, no tools, minimal fuel, and minimal shelter, it was a rough little bag.
It took me many years to realize that I should have sunscreen and bug spray in my bag. Hunting is actually what caused me to put bug spray in the bag.
After an interview with Craig Avery, he told me that his relative and Appalachian Trail Pioneer, Myron H Avery. mentioned that bug spray is as essential as anything else in your kit.
It changed my outlook from gear driven packing to a focus on comfort and environmental relief in the wild.
Managing Mosquitos on Property
My sons and I have danced around one project for about a year now. I hope this year we will dig our heels in and get it done. Its a bat box.
I think we were watching Adventure Cat, which might be useless information to non-parents out there when we saw a clip about building a bat box for your backyard.
Bats are the out of sight out of mind mosquito murderers. We don’t see them do their work but it is estimated they eat 1000 mosquitoes per hour!
Now, that is one big part of your, on property, mosquito management plan.
To take advantage of these bats we need to provide them with harborage or a place to nest. Building a bat box or bat boxes is a great way to provide them with a place to nest during the day.
These can be attached to trees or even attached directly to your home! We have seen many builds and its time to sit down and build a few of our own bat boxes.
We could use the help on my property.
Another property management technique includes the elimination of standing water. Be sure you have good drainage and check your yard for things like buckets, tires and kids toys that are great at collecting water where mosquitos lay their eggs.
If you have an open-top water collection on the property, you will need to treat the water with bleach to assure that the larvae cannot survive in this water source.
High grass is another great water source and means of proliferation for mosquitos. So keep the grass cut. If you can dominate standing water on the property you will have a big impact on mosquito populations.
DIY Mosquito Traps
Along with managing mosquitos on the property, with things like bat boxes and the elimination of standing water, you can also create DIY mosquito traps.
These traps use simple mosquito attractants that work every time and snare the biting bugs in things like soap, water or netting. If you need a serious intervention but don’t have the money to call in some help, you should look into building some of your own mosquito traps.
In a disaster, public services will not be running or will be running in a limited capacity. Spraying for mosquitos will be one of those services that could go away.
This will have a serious effect on the waves of mosquitos that you and your family face.
The 2 Liter Bottle Trap
A simple 2-liter bottle can be modified to do a heck of a job at collecting mosquitos. This is a similar design that can be used to dispatch things like flies, and gnats.
In the Food Banking industry, we received lots of onions. Many times the onions were small or called “# twos” and were too small for grocery store shelves.
In spring and fall, these onions would bring gnats in swarms.
Similar traps were used to collect gnats around these pallets and pallets of onions.
To create this trap cut the bottle in half about a quarter of the way down from the top. About three inches above where the label starts you can slice it straight through.
You are going to flip the mouth upside down and sit it back into the lower section of the 2-liter bottle. The two parts can be taped together with the mouth flipped down.
After taping these two pieces together you can add some brown sugar, yeast, and water to the soda bottle through the open but upsidedown mouth of the bottle.
This will attract the mosquitos and they will be trapped in the bottle
You can experiment with your “attractant” but it seems to be sweet and yeasty contents that attract the most mosquitos.
Place these in areas where you are most affected by these biting fiends.
The Dish Soap and LED Trap
This trap is another simple creation that can be very effective against mosquitoes. It uses water, light and dish soap to drag mosquitos to their watery grave.
This is an ironic trap because mosquitos are born in water.
Fill a Tupper wear or other similar-sized container to the top with water and then mix in a few drops of soap.
Normally, mosquitos can land and stand on water! However, the soap added to the water breaks the surface tension and the mosquitos plunge into the water, wetting their wings and dying.
To draw them to the trap you are going to hang a strong LED light over the water and turn it on. This light is going to draw the mosquitoes to it and they will eventually land in the water below and get caught in your new trap.
These traps work best near tree lines and undisturbed areas.
The Fan Trap
This trap is a little more involved.
It utilizes the powerful winds of a box fan and mosquito netting. You could employ a powerful LED light to lure the mosquitos into the fan.
This trap drags the mosquitos through the back of the fan and sucks them through into the net that is blowing in front of it.
You need to attach the net to the fan and I have found the best way to do this is to use zip ties and cut small holes in your netting. If you run the zip ties through your netting and into the box fan front cover it will hold the net in place when the unit is running.
Once you have attached your netting you are going to have to set the trap up in high traffic area for mosquitos.
Fans without traps are great deterrents for mosquitos in the first place. This fan system is unique because it affects mosquitos in two ways. It blows them away from the people, assuming your fan is pointed at people.
It also catches any mosquitos that fly behind it. A very interesting little project.
The tiny mosquito is a radical disease spreading, human killing machine. It has a detailed past of ravaging human endeavors and human life.
We have since drawn a balance between protecting natural environments but still crushing natural mosquito populations. This is one of the reasons we can go outside at night in July.
Many scientists fear that the changing climates on the planet could make mosquito populations harder to control and the spread of disease more rampant. Its a legitimate fear as temperature and water tend to have the biggest effect on mosquito populations.
Managing mosquitos on the property will go a long way for you. You might even be able to avoid using harsh pesticides altogether. Eliminating standing water and adding natural mosquito predators will go a long way in lowering the numbers of mosquitos.
However, if you are looking for a more targeted answer, these traps could be just that. These are all very affordable solutions, as well. With just a little forethought and some preparation, you could make a half dozen of these bottle traps and spread them all over your property.
Your battle with mosquitos could just be in its infancy. In a disaster, things will change radically and if you have to get outside and tend to a garden for food, you better have a way of doing it without being chewed up and drained by these little monsters.