Living with Mosquitoes in Disease-free Contexts: Attitudes and perceptions of risk in English wetlands

Adriana Ford, Mary Gearey, Timothy Acott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Mosquitoes are amongst a small coterie of insects whose mention within general conversation provokes an instant reaction. Joining ticks, horseflies and midges, mosquitoes conjure in the mind a time, a place, of interaction. Human and mosquito lives are entwined. Most people can recollect mosquito encounters—of high-pitched whines that prevent sleep, of walking through swarms on a summer’s evening, of inflamed bites scratched until they bleed. Mosquitoes are intrinsic to what cultural cartographer Rebecca Solnit (2010) describes as the “living maps” of our perambulations through our lives and through places; an unbidden fellow traveller whose companionship we never quite manage to shake off, and whose presence appears at the most intimate of times.
Humans and wetlands have been interconnected across time, deep time. Though deep time is a contentious term (Irvine 2014), we can say that over the millennia, humanity’s dependence on wetlands for all aspects of survival is non-contestable (Schmidt 2017). This is true even now, as wetlands across the globe provide a range of ecosystem services which humans depend on, including food provisioning in forms as diverse as agro-industrial rice production, cranberry harvesting, subsistence fishing, foraging and wildfowling. Human development is closely linked with wetland environments, and this in turn has meant that humans have sought to live alongside fellow wetland species—including mosquitoes. In this chapter we explore these interrelationships to interrogate contemporary perceptions of risk associated with mosquitoes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMosquitopia
Subtitle of host publicationThe Place of Pests in a Healthy World
EditorsMarcus Hall, Dan Tamir
ISBN (Print)9780367520052
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Environmental Humanities


  • wetlands
  • mosquitoes
  • risk
  • perceptions
  • climate change


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