Sometimes I read something that leaves me scratching my head. Like this one in the Iowa Capital Dispatch entitled, "How mosquitoes came to Hawaii."
Now, the Iowa Capital Dispatch is a left-leaning publication, that I usually take a gander at in the mornings. Sometimes they have things that affect our area, and they keep an eye on what's happening Des Moines so I follow it.
The article was written about a trip that the author took to Hawaii as she said in part for a writing conference and part vacation. Then she goes on to talk about how she hesitates to write about "another culture's history, especially when dates and facts sometimes don't jive." This line immediately caught my attention. Are we not allowed to write about another culture now? But then again, when the facts "don't jive" I probably wouldn't write it on that alone.
She proceeded to share a story that was "part legend" but much of it was fact she said. According to her article she states that the mosquito was introduced to the Hawaiian islands as part of an act of war.
I'll stop right here and explain exactly why I rolled my eyes and decided to go down this rabbit trail. First, the author declares that what she's going to say is "part legend" but then tries to poo poo that by saying, "but much of it is fact." I just wanted to know about the mosquitos and how they got there for real...and I should've just scrolled on by.
According to her, in 1779, Captain Cook arrived on the islands and the natives thought he was a god and treated him as such. In a nutshell, things went downhill fast, resulting in Cook being killed. His crewman supposedly in retaliation dumped a barrel of mosquito larvae-infected water into their river, and tada the mosquito was introduced to Hawaii.
A couple of things set off questions. First, did they even know in 1779 that they could unleash mosquito hell on the islands via a barrel of water? I mean it seems to me that if they wanted to retaliate, mosquitos wouldn't be the way to do it.
So I googled "when were mosquitos introduced to the Hawaiian islands" and a government website popped up that said, in 1826. Now, this site is put out there by the NIH, the same branch that we've heard from in the last four years, courtesy of Dr. Fauci. If you recall, he is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH, National Institutes of Health. So I don't need to say anything more, other than "science."
The NIH said that in 1826 "European and American ships carry the first mosquitoes to Hawai'i, where there are no blood-sucking insects. Although these mosquitoes cannot transmit malaria to humans, they carry avian malaria, which decimates birds native to the Hawaiian Islands. Over the next 150 years, four more mosquito species are introduced."
So there you have it. Science. Fauci's department says mosquitos came in 1826, not in 1779 from a barrel of mosquito water as part of some war.
The second reason I even bothered to look into this, is because of the infamous mantra of "misinformation." Any time I see something implying that the "white man did it on purpose" I take it with a grain of salt. Not that I think the white man has been the best example of goodness, but we're living in a time where facts don't matter. History is easy to rewrite because apparently, we care more about feelings rather than facts. If we can create a feeling, facts are ignored.
This gal, on vacation, shares the mosquito war idea and sold it as fact. In this case, I'm thinking probably the NIH really had looked into this previously and said, "nope, that's not how it happened." But what do I know.
"Cook's crewmen retaliated by picking up a barrel of water infested with mosquito larvae and dumping it in the river. Other sources show an incident with weaponized water occurring in the early 1800s. But either way, it seems commonly accepted that anger and retribution introduced mosquitoes to Hawaii," the author declared. The author is a science denier. Forget the facts, "anger and retribution introduced mosquitoes to Hawaii.
So, I'm going with the science figuring that the NIH used our tax dollars to prove it. I mean, they probably could have saved millions and gone with legend to declare the migration of the mosquito to Hawaii, came only when Captain Cook's crew wanted to really show the Hawaiians how to fight by dumping the barrel of water into a river.
Call me silly, but I don't have time to go through the rest of the article to see if it's true. Since the headline, "How mosquitos came to Hawaii" is making the rounds, I might just put this one out there and entitle it, "How mosquitoes came to Hawaii, Science Edition," and see if we can clear it up a bit.
It probably won't matter. But give me just the facts.