A Cloud of Mosquitoes Puts the Bees Out of a Job (Fiction)

in agriculture •  2 months ago

PollinatingMosquitoPD.jpg
This is fiction, set in the future. Some believe it spoils the fun for me to make that disclaimer, but for me it spoils more fun to read dozens of comments in which people think it’s true when it isn’t (yet). Recently, I read a news article mentioning that harmful mosquitoes could be genetically engineered to ignore blood meals and instead focus on plant nectar only (link at end of this post). That engineered lifestyle change is different from the broader proposal to genetically engineer harmful mosquitoes out of existence altogether, which was been discussed in many places. Males of harmful species already eat only nectar, while there is one mosquito species in which both sexes dine from flowers and not by biting animals. The next step in logic was mine. But it’s still fiction.

San Joaquin Valley, California, United States. February 2045.

It was here, in a broad valley plain, that almonds met their demise. Irrigated water from the rivers that begin in the Sierra Nevada mountains became less and less reliable each season. The west had entered a dry period that most blamed on climate change. And they were right: global climate change was wreaking havoc everywhere, though in truth California had always been dry. For more than a century after the Gold Rush, there was an unusually wet weather pattern that people believed was California’s normal.

It was not. California had been drier before and since that time. Too dry to support almonds anymore; those trees were taken out and used for firewood. Rising temperatures and spotty irrigation called for a new crop. Today, pomegranates are the new normal here. Once grown further south, pomegranates had proven to be an ideal crop for this arid valley with rich soil.

Even 25 years ago, the almonds and apricots and peaches and other stone fruit trees in this valley would bloom in the spring. Old timers still tell stories about walking through fields here that were covered with blossoms as far as the eye could see.

AlmondTreesPD.jpg

Beehives.jpg

PollinatorPD.jpg

Accompanying the pink and white flowers would be a buzz from the bees. Boxes and boxes of honeybees would be trucked in from points afar. These mobile hives would be transported around the country from one agricultural area’s bloom to another. These honeybees pollinated the almonds and stone fruits, creating honey at the same time that could be sold.


Back to the Present

PomegranateShrubPD.jpg

Today, a young woman stands in the field beside the growing pomegranate bushes. They will soon be trees. And already, the red and pink buds are opening in a bloom of their own. The woman motions her hand as if she is directing an unseen orchestra. She is watching a channel we cannot see, pointing and swiping at a screen that hangs above the fields and is visible only to her.

In the distance, a rail car turns off the highway and down a side road. Interestingly, there are no train tracks and it appears to glide on the surface of the ground. The young woman focuses for a moment on her unseen screen and makes sure the train car makes a quick right turn again into a row of her pomegranate bushes. The car is moving with little friction along the soil between the fruit crops, making its way to the woman’s exact position.

She clicks the air to stop it. And that begins another chain of events. Doors on both sides open. Robots roll out and deploy themselves throughout the row crop of pomegranate trees. It takes 10 minutes for all of them to get in position. The woman checks the readings on her unseen screen, confirms that the time is right for nature’s big intervention, and authorizes the next action.

Like clockwork, each robot opens a small door and pushes out what looks like a lantern. The contraption is set on the ground in front of the pomegranates, each lantern-type device servicing a certain number of bushes. Seconds after being placed in position, the lantern-type devices pop open to reveal that each one has not a battery below, but a reservoir of water.

It’s not clear water, but more like water from a pond or stream. There’s some scum in it. And hundreds of little wriggly things in each small reservoir.

Larvae.png
Mosquito larvae in water. Soon to become small helicopters. Creative Commons via Wikimedia by Public Library of Science.

The Buzz Cloud

They are mosquito larvae, which live in water. And within hours, each of them will complete their transformation into whiny, flying insects. The larvae will cease to exist and the robots will return their dish devices back to the train car. The robots themselves will remain a little longer to monitor their work and take readings.

The young woman has no protection from these bloodsucking insects and she doesn’t need any. She watches in amazement as the billions of tiny insects take flight. It’s like being stuck in a Georgia swamp, but instead of vile biting insects, this cloud of skeeters is here for a purpose.

Cloud.png
Cloud of mosquitoes. Source: http://www.mosquitomagnet.com/articles/purpose-of-mosquitoes.

The mosquitoes flying near the young woman continue right by her, attracted not by her CO2 or body heat, but by the smell of the pomegranate flowers’ nectar. A few lucky birds delight in this sudden orgy, but they have little effect on the overall numbers. Once upon a time, honeybees did this job, but now the mosquitoes have been trained for it.

Ah, the power of genetic engineering. Scientists first determined how to eradicate the mosquito by breeding new genes into it. But honeybees were dying around the same time, and so some smart person on Steemit said, why not use the mosquitoes to pollinate fruit trees? After all, even with biting mosquitoes, the males always have fed on nectar while the females do so some of the time. Other times, the females are attracted to and drink animal blood.

The female mosquitoes had to have that gene turned off, so the scent of a red-blooded animal does not interest them. They hunt for nectar from these red flowers instead. And their whiny, buzzy little wings beat at the pollen of their flowers, transferring it from flower to flower as they do the work that bees once did.

PomeFlowerPD.jpg

Mosquitoes are pollinating the fruit tree crop. They are no longer biting people or animals. Now if only we can get them to produce honey, they will be every bit as useful as those bees that used to work here. Coming soon to a store near you: Mosquito Honey! That’s still a joke (I think). A few bees remain; their honey is very expensive and worth every penny. But mosquitoes proved to be much more efficient pollinators.

If you can’t beat them, hire them.

Carlin.jpg

This was a work of fiction. All photos are public domain unless otherwise referenced in the text. Material references:
https://www.insidescience.org/video/flower-loving-mosquitos
https://www.mantecabulletin.com/opinion/other-views/bee-economist-explains-honey-bees-vital-role-in-growing-almonds/
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2018/08/03/honeybees-pollinator-really-going-extinct/#.W3s0L7gnaUk
https://cbs4indy.com/2018/07/23/woman-builds-mason-bee-homes-to-help-declining-populations/

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Very interesting story, I love insects, here where I live has each incredible, whenever I can shoot photos and I share in Steemit, as they are from another world

Wow how awesome would that be? lol Those darn ankle biters! By the way do you know why Mosquitos always seem to bite the ankles? lol. Pomegranates are awesome, I have one growing in a pot in my patio garden. There never seem to be enough bees around my garden, so I need to hand pollinate everything, with a little paint brush. Now if I could train the mosquitos to pollinate instead of bite me, that would be awesome. Oh, did you put a lyrical reference in this? I was looking for one, but didn't seem to find one. "Old timers still tell stories about walking through fields here that were covered with blossoms as far as the eye could see." I thought that line had potential, if the word gold was in there. Walking in Fields of Gold. But then I realized, no you probably weren't making a reference there. It is a new game for me now, to try and find references to music, in your posts, ever since you told me you hide them once in awhile. haha but I don't think I have found one since the "Enter Sandman" line you had.

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I get it in the ankle also. Maybe those are the mosquitoes near the ground and that's the first thing they see? Yummy.

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hahaha maybe so, that would make sense, easy pickings, since they are already near the ground. haha

I'll just say that mosquitoes like all natural work is necessary in our planet despite how foolish they are and the amount of diseases that spread throughout the planet but it would be great to be able to manipulate them to perform planned revenges would be very fun

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It would be sweet revenge, though the bees make honey and I would miss that.

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you are right mosquitoes would be used only for those enemies that you would like to get sick while bees would also serve to help you with breakfast

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Good idea for this military scientist,

Cc : CDC, CIA, KGB, FBI, MI6, Kingsmen, James Bond, Mission Impossible guys.

They'll put that into consideration.

We do not deserve planet Earth, many fields turned into $war battlefields instead of farming fields; no one care about feeding humans 🤑🤦‍♀️ every piece of land should farm like that...

Hello Friend how are you? the world of mosquitoes is very different always in one way or another we are bitten and some even diseases give us, bees do a good job but mosquitoes would not be very good if we could take them to chop other things that were not for us , I fight day by day with them, taking care that they do not give us Dengue since in rainy weather they are more upset

Your story is very good

Sometimes I have wondered what role mosquitoes have in the world or mosquitoes, they walk around the world stinging and sucking blood but I do not understand why they do it or what function they fulfill they only leave us ugly rosettes on the skin that also cause itching

It would be interesting to see him extract the nectar from the flowers so they would have a function in the world but now that it happens with the bees all will be dedicated to the same

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It's like the street thugs who probably belong in jail. Maybe they just need an opportunity and a new job. :)

weevil.jpg

The clouds of mosquitos thing is very much like what is going on here at the moment. The farmers near us are harvesting wheat and all of these little Wheat Weevils (or Wheevils if you prefer) are infesting the place. They are pretty grim, covering the windows and everything. I think the only thing that these fellas are good for is eating wheat though.

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Sorry to hear of your infestation, which must be difficult for the farmers. Every few years, it seems like there is a cycle with some creature around here also (and hopefully in your case, that is just a boom year rather than a persistent trend). I remember one year there seemed to be rabbits everywhere, but after that year the population stabilized again. This year, we've had a lot more ticks than usual (the dog keeps picking them up on walks).

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Very sorry to hear farmers going through this, I'll encourage those farmers to look inward to an indigenious way to tackle that.
Neem Oil, Garlic, Pepper have proven to combat some pest here, organically.

Hello how are you? interesting topic mosquitoes I have seen those large clouds of mosquitoes that only come and cause itchy skin on humans are annoying, I do not like to go to the field you find those big clouds of which you are talking

In my country they have their departure time if you go at 6 o'clock in the afternoon to the field you can find these clouds of annoying mosquitoes

I think if they start doing something for flowers or maybe other things they will make more sense to me and many people

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Everyone hates them. It sure would be nice if they could be put to good use.

Mosquitoes are pollinating the fruit tree crop. They are no longer biting people or animals.

You really got me laughing in a stocked rickety car I entered for a journey like that sir. They will be really useful I think.
Lmao

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Someday, it might come true. Enjoy your trip.

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Hmm, I await that in future sir. Lol
Thank you

Mosquitoes will be much more useful on plants.. I wish this could happen, it will reduce the death rates caused by malaria..

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Someday, I hope we can end those diseases. If we can put mosquitoes to work, perhaps that would be better, but most of us would not mind if they simply disappeared either.

@donkeypong has a great imagination, you can compete with stephen spielberg or james cameron as a screenwriter and director.

Regarding the beginning of the publication. It is possible that one scientist genetically modifies the instinct to suck blood from moquitos.

This is as if Count Dracula had been genetically modified and his desire to suck blood changed him to want to eat chicken in KFC.

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Yes, I got that idea from the first article I linked in the post, which was recent and quite genuine. Male mosquitoes (and both sexes of one mosquito species) actually feed only on plant nectar, not on blood. There is a scientist looking for the gene that makes female mosquitoes attracted to blood, because if they can turn that one off, then mosquitoes would not bite anymore.

Mosquitoes had killed more people than the two world wars combined so I would be happy to have them all killed but surely some small-insect eating creatures won't get happy but for humanity it may be better @donkeypong

But maybe in the future they will make mosquitoes produce something useful for people then it will be much better.

@donkeypong,

harmful mosquitoes could be genetically engineered to ignore blood meals and instead focus on plant nectar only

Yep...that's bigger solution for release from dangerous mosquitoes. But I don't know it will confirmly be or not. Peoples don't prefer to see any modules mosquitoes. But you know some of mosquitoes live using flower honey. Scientists need to grow much like those once. Immediately need to change generation.

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Nobody likes a cloud of mosquitoes, but if they are not biting anyone and may be serving some useful purpose, they'd be no worse than gnats. Most people do not live close enough to an agricultural field like this one to get mosquitoes traveling to them from this cloud anyway.

You provided valuable story of currently having problem of the society. Solutions wanna much better. But whole story being fiction. Yeah.. that's fiction but we can get best ideas for resolving. Nice blog @donkeypong.

Hearing of mosquito music will attract you to listen to music. If you can make such a beautiful tune with a little mosquito, then you will not be able to know how beautiful it is.

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Hey, that's an idea. Can we train them to sing a tune also?

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They already know how to tune the tune. I think this is the artistic stage of the mosquito. They can serve very good solo and group music.

Oh my! This is a great work of fiction which brought back to my mind a question I used to ask when I was a bit more innocent.

As Christians we believe that sin brought in all the negativity we see. So what were the female mosquitoes feeding on before sin?
My guess is that either they were feeding on fruit juice like their male counterparts or they were in a kind of beneficial symbiotic relationship with some animals.

Your post gat me thinking!

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Mosquitoes were biting animals for tens of millions of years before humans projected their sense of sin on the animal world.

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I like this theosophical philosophical interpretation of the story. You should read my comment. We had similar thoughts :)

nature is so pretty

What is your most beautiful imagination and expression. we missed you dear @donkeypong

I hate alot mosquitoes because they give alot injection

I love your creativity and subtlety in writing, you fill my mind with imagination and take me to be in that beautiful place, I fell in love with the photos, you leave a great message with this fictional story, thank you for sharing it.

Hola, me gustaron estas frases:
  • Ella está mirando un canal que no podemos ver, apuntando y deslizando hacia una pantalla que cuelga sobre los campos y es visible solo para ella.
  • Los mosquitos hembras tenían que tener ese gen apagado, por lo que el olor de un animal de sangre roja no les interesa. En su lugar, cazan néctar de estas flores rojas. Y sus alas pequeñas y zumbantes golpean el polen de sus flores, transfiriéndolo de flor en flor, al igual que hacen el trabajo que una vez hicieron las abejas.
  • Si no puedes vencerlos, contrátalos.
  • En la primera frase nos narras con detalle fragmentos de la historia y nos haces meternos en la trama.
    En la segunda frase nos describes a plenitud imágenes visuales, auditivas y olfativas para hacernos sentir dentro de la historia.
    En la tercera frase cierras la historia con una frase corta que no resume la historia pero nos hace aterrizar a la realidad.
    Me encanta que compartas esto con nosotros, es fascinante
    Gracias @donkeypong
    Hello, I liked these sentences:
  • She is looking at a channel that we cannot see, pointing and sliding towards a screen that hangs over the fields and is visible only to her.
  • Female mosquitoes had to have that gene turned off, so the smell of a red-blooded animal doesn't interest them. Instead, they hunt nectar from these red flowers. And their small, buzzing wings beat the pollen out of their flowers, transferring it from flower to flower, just as they do the work that bees once did.
  • If you can't beat them, hire them.
  • In the first sentence you tell us in detail fragments of the story and make us get into the plot.
    In the second sentence you describe us in full visual, auditory and olfactory images to make us feel inside the story.
    In the third sentence you close the story with a short sentence that doesn't sum up the story but makes us land on reality.
    I love that you share this with us, it's fascinating
    Thank you @donkeypong
    Again...
    THANK YOU!

    Good pictures with professional retrieval techniques. I have to learn a lot from you about good shooting techniques.

    Posted using Partiko Android

    Fiction good @donkeypong. Picture also cold. success for you friend.

    Beautiful pictures

    Nature could give a beautiful scenery

    Amazing experience really enjoyed

    Small beautiful flowers developed, combined with sweet honey
    Bees beauty seekers
    Native flowers and bees when they bind our efforts
    Sweet born

    this is another useful post. I love your blog,@donkeypong

    I wish I could work in that field, it’s amazing

    interesting story. Though I do not share your optimism, I would consider genetically engineered mosqitoes to be a dystopic vision lol. Bees are the natural pollinators and we are killing them off. Mosquitoes are nature's little vampire parasites so to teach them to pollinate the honey we put in our body is akin to willingly letting the parasitic elites wash out our brains with their lies and deception I suppose. That's the analogy I would draw from this.

    Check out my Steemit for original music, writings and video skits/discussions.

    Even If cannot drop a useful comment, I can atleast resteem, nice work sir

    Oh yes
    Very good photoghraphy

    This is pretty well future assumption.
    It's still 27 years to reach is 2045. What will happen if things will happen in same way.?
    Lol

    Posted using Partiko Android

    I like your blog a lot.Because you are a lot bigger
    Tried to write stories together.And there are detailed discussions that are very easy for us to understand.The stories are very beautiful.

    Actually you can write stories very well.Which we love to read very well, especially my.I do not know how to write so beautifully. Still say that I have written a lot of my beautiful things in my writing. My mind filled my mind with a different feeling of mind.I love your blog

    Scientists are doing various types of work to protect the environment. We have to participate in their work and help them, we can save the environment.

    So, is this fiction?

    Kidding!!

    I actually had no idea that male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar!! Absolutely none! Your well-written story is maybe not that far off actually. I've always wondered what exactly it is that attracts them to only some humans; growing up on our farm, there was a patch of field by a large forested area, and my one sister, brother and mom were always swatting frantically, but my other brother, me and my dad never got touched. It was the strangest thing. Seeing from your comments here and elsewhere, I have the feeling that they delight on your taste and smell :)

    Oh this was brilliant! One huge step toward Utopia- how beautiful it would be if mosquitoes preferred the nectar of fruit instead of the nectar of me!!

    Assam Post. I started voting from you today. Your paste feels very good to me. You are good. And with good paste come our

    You shouldn't have told us it's a work of fiction, it's good to keep the reader in a a suspense.
    I really love where the idea of the story is coming from, truly there are decline in bees pollination in some farms even in Nigeria. But don't think engineering another insect for it is the way out.
    If scientist can do that, In so many centuries to. Come women will be engineered to produce only baby, some will be engineered to produce milk, the beautiful one will be made for sex.
    Just think about it.

    @donkeypong Mosquitoes bite me like bees and I also crack them via Chinese Mosquitoes killer bat and I tried to understand their sound and I feel pain when they sound just after short-circuit. You article is really awesome about female and male mosquitoes. Mosquito Honey sounds interesting to me. My farm goat also feel pain when hundreds of female mosquitoes bite me x6g96hfchnh11.jpg
    (Photo: https://steemit.com/photography/@cryptosalvi/goat-into-the-car-2018)

    oh wow, mosquito infestions are not good! I have too many outside my door and I live less than a mile away from Downtown Richmond, VA. in the USA! they do not spray here for them but other cities do around here. I have a few outside cats I have bought mosquito and flea-tick repellent as they bite everything! I wish they would just eat nectar now ! Great article, thanks! I have sent you a free pack of Steem Monster cards! You can view them at steemmonsters.com :-)

    Sometimes I wish to die once again to return to the resurrection. But to nature it is absolutely impossible. Whenever I walk the path I think, someone is walking with me. Actually, people can not go alone alone. The shadow of God helps him walk along the way. Anyway, I can not find anything to say. Your posts are very good for me.

    Thank You

    💜

    Very good post and great history, it would be very important and interesting that this happened so that there would be more fertilization of new plants, more pollination in parts of these mosquitoes and bees where it is faster and the honey harvest is more efficient and thus take care of insects where we do not have to hit them when we bite hahaha.
    @calitoo

    very nice photography