The Mosquito Wars
A History of Mosquito Control in Florida
AUTHOR: Patterson, Gordon M.
PUBLISHER: University Press of Florida
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"The Mosquito Wars is a fascinating chronicle of the history of mosquito control in Florida over the past century. It details the positive contributions made by the profession's many managers and scientists. This work thoroughly describes how this profession has helped make Florida habitable and also puts the environmental controversies of mosquito control in the proper perspective."--Douglas Carlson, Indian River Mosquito Control District
"The Mosquito Wars is an entertaining, accurate description of how mosquito control has developed in Florida to its current state."--Dennis Moore, editor-in-chief, Wing Beats
The Mosquito Wars presents a comprehensive and insightful analysis of the development of human efforts to wage war on mosquitoes in 20th-century Florida. Drawing on archival records, interviews, and published records, Gordon Patterson provides readers with a context for understanding how mosquito control has shaped the environment of contemporary Florida.
Patterson reveals how the discovery that yellow fever, malaria, and dengue fever were mosquito-borne diseases had a profound impact on Florida's development in the first half of the 20th century. State agencies organized campaigns from Pensacola to Key West against the disease-bearing insects. World War II opened a new era in mosquito control; the United States Department of Agriculture pioneered the use of DDT as an insecticide, and by 1944 army and navy pilots were regularly flying anti-mosquito missions. The 1950s ushered in a new objective--to reduce not only disease-bearing mosquitoes but also pest and nuisance mosquitoes. The growing problem of chemical resistance, however, led to the use of new and more powerful pesticides, raising concerns about the environmental impact of these chemicals on biologically sensitive wetlands. The ensuing controversy resulted in the rewriting of mosquito control laws in 1986. The continuing occurrences of encephalitis and the recent arrival of the West Nile virus, both transmitted by mosquitoes, dictate that mosquito control will continue to play a vital role in protecting the public's health and welfare.
The Mosquito Wars presents a balanced, entertaining, and informative examination of this often heroic and sometimes tragic history of the battle to control mosquitoes in Florida.
Gordon Patterson is professor of history at the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne.
PUBLICATION DATE: 4/28/2004
CATEGORY: History, Technology & Engineering