Mosquitoes actually have some good points—they are a food source for many animals, they pollinate flowers, and they even have the capacity to learn. But mostly, as any of us who have been bitten can attest, THEY SUCK (at least, the females do). August 20 is World Mosquito Day, and we welcome you to come see our display on this ubiquitous pest at the Central Library this month on level 7; it has some great offerings if you want to learn more about our bloodthirsty friends.
But first, take a look at some wonderfully buggy titles to get you in the mood…
–In Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and The Rise of Insects, Scott Shaw gives us the bug’s eye view of the earth, and demonstrates how insects of all kinds have achieved the most diversity and vibrancy of any life form; in fact, they are the earth’s “potentates”. He traces their history as intertwined with the Earth’s, and even suggests that if we visit other planets, the life forms there will be akin to bugs!
–In The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, Sonia Shah introduces us to this durable killer, spread (of course) by mosquitoes. It’s played a significant role in human history, decimating populations, and still affects millions across the globe with either chronic illness or death… and yet, we are so accustomed to it as a species that we can be almost lackadaisical. Shah looks at why that is, and where we go from here.
–In another malaria history, The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government’s Secret Project to Find a Miracle Cure, Karen Masterson relates attempts to conquer malaria during WWII, and the ethical boundaries that were crossed in that pursuit.
–On a more lighthearted (but still squirmy) note, check out Amy Stewart’s Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects. You have to love a book in which the chapter on the mating habits of insects is called “She’s Just Not That Into You”.
Also, consider learning more about protecting yourself against mosquitoes. West Nile Virus is something we should all be concerned about if we are going to Eastern Washington this summer; here are maps of its spread last year. And while we worry more about Zika, malaria, dengue and Chikungunya, West Nile Virus is no joke. You can learn more about protecting yourself here, here and here, and also you may want to consult this list of repellents tested by Consumer Reports (Consumer Reports is also available through SPL’s database collection, with your card number and PIN). You might also want to check out a copy of Naturally Bug-Free; it’s subtitled “75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects”.
Stay safe and bite-free this summer!
~posted by Ann G.