Entomology Expert Warns Against Killing ‘Your Friend’

A Professor of Entomology at the University of Ilorin, has warned against killing mosquitoes because they are ‘friends’ that deserve to be properly managed.

While delivering the 169th Inaugural Lecture of the University, titled; “Consider the ways of Ants and be Wise” Professor Adeolu Ande described insects as the “most successful and influential group of organisms in the biosphere”. He also noted that humans have a lot to learn from them in order “to get wise”.

Prof Ande observed that human life is beset with inevitable associations with insects that have over the years influenced human destiny positively and negatively.

“Negative influences, such as disease transmission, crop losses, food spoilage, economic losses and nuisance value caused by less than 5 percent of insect species have been exaggerated by man” he said.

Ande explained that the positive influences of insects were pollination of flowers, waste recycling, sustenance of the ecosystem, shellac, cochineal, therapeutic agents, aesthetics, biological control agents and food source.

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According to the Professor of Entomology, humans deliberately misconstrue mosquitoes’ role and frequently describe them as causing the diseases they transmit, describing it as a case of calling a dog a bad name to hang it.

He noted that in the actual sense, the mosquitoes are equally sick but inadvertently and unwillingly convey pathogens that are the real causal agents of these diseases.

“The female mosquito could be described as an example of a true mother (Abiamo tooto)”, adding that it is only forced to undertake a ‘suicide mission’ in its bid to provide for its unborn children.

He explained that “adult female mosquitoes have exceptional value for child raising hence the level of commitment and risk they take on the mission that entails a decision between life and death.

“The after-effect of this commitment is a well thought-out plan that forestalls most of the factors that may stand in the way of raising good children. I am sure most human females will not take a comparable decision in the face of similar attendant risks…

“Mosquitoes have proved to us over the years that they are our friends and allies and whether we like them or not they will exist and continue to source blood from us.

“Unfortunately, our lack of understanding and intolerance has been largely responsible for the use of ungodly methods to handle them,” Prof Ande said.

Ande advised that the wise way out is to get more friendly with mosquitoes and use ecologically compatible methods against them.

“My advice is stop killing mosquitoes; they are friends and they deserve to be properly managed”, he said.

On honey bees, Ande said bees “sting as a last resort because it has a cost that is ultimate, i.e. the demise of the stinger; thus it is a suicidal mission but for a good purpose which is the survival or protection of the colony thereafter”.

The Professor lamented that humans for discovering the goodness of honey, and resorting to the use of smoke and fire (arson) to prosecute forceful harvest, “hence committing an action comparable to an armed robbery exercise”.

According to Ande, over the decades, this practice has affected the quality and quantity of honey available and the life system of the ecosystem adversely, as the bees’ role in pollination has been heavily compromised.

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Therefore, he suggested that to forestall these drawbacks, honey bee farming (Apiculture) should be encouraged, as it will improve honey quality and production, provide job opportunities, enhance bee presence in the ecosystem, enhance pollination, and improve crop production, all of which are highly desirable and required qualities for our ailing ecosystem.

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