I have a question that has long bothered me about mosquitoes and aquaculture.
Mossies carry disease, right? So shouldn't care be taken, such as installing proper netting, in order to keep them from becoming fish food and ultimately transmitting any diseases or parasites to humans?
Here in the sub-tropics we get a lot of mosquitoes, and someone once told me that, with regards to raising fish as food stock, the fish were susceptible to catching disease by eating mosquito larvae. Obviously I'd like to say that that was a bunch of hooey, but I'd like definitive answers from an expert so I'll know how to plan.
I am not an expert on transmit ion of disease. Actually, I don't claim any expertise. I just like to dream, experiment and babble so with a grain of salt, here it goes.
I do believe there are ways that diseases can be transmitted and is usually through direct contact with contaminated blood. As my understanding and I'm probably wrong but it is not so much that they themselves are carriers but is the infected blood that they store in their bodies that is the major source of contamination. If one were to restrict the source of contamination to outside the equation, I think the risk factor would be acceptable. A simple mosquito net over the breeding tank should suffice. If you are in an area that is infested with possible contamination, you could breed them inside an enclosed space with screen doors at each end of of a security hall.
Quote from the link below
"To understand how mosquitoes carry and transmit disease, it’s necessary to understand how mosquitoes reproduce. When a female mosquito is ready to produce eggs, she must drink a small bit of blood to help her eggs develop. To get that blood, she’ll bite a mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian. Some mosquitoes only bite from a single source, such as birds, while others will bite from more than one, such as the mosquito that transmits yellow fever, which bites both humans and monkeys.
When the female mosquito bites, she inserts her proboscis – or feeding tube – into the skin in search of blood. The feeding tube that she uses to drink the blood is very small, so to make it easier for the proboscis to penetrate the skin and to prevent the blood from clotting and blocking the tube, she releases a small amount of anticoagulant enzyme-laced saliva.
The blood that the female mosquito takes into her body may be laden with parasites, viruses or other disease-causing organisms. While in the mosquito, these parasites or viruses will continue to develop and reproduce, and when the mosquito bites her next “victim,” those disease-causing organisms can be transferred along with her saliva."
Yea, as Sean said, most of the diseases spread by mosquitoes are blood borne so a fish eating the larva of a mosquito and then us cooking and eating that fish is not really a vector. However, you want to make sure that your system is not a heavy breeding ground for mosquitoes causing lots of biting mosquitoes to abound in your area, you want to make sure that eggs and larva in your systems get eaten by fish or that you have enough aeration/agitation to keep the mosquitoes from successfully breeding and causing more biting mosquitoes that could transmit disease.
I would add mosquito fish to raft beds or tanks where you are not raising your edible fish and I add mosquito dunks to any water that may be standing and not supporting mosquito eaters.
Thanks everyone for your knowledge and insight. My main question was really "If a fish eats an infected mosquito, does that fish pose a health risk to humans". In my city, any standing water seems to get infested with mosquito larvae within days, so mosquito dunks are always a necessity.
Hey Lynx, are these "mosquito fish" considered another invasive species here in Florida? Would you put these guys in an open sump?
The article that Sylvia posted on "Duckweed" made mention that duckweed very possibly may produce a substance in the water that causes mosquito larvae to form incorrectly thus not being able complete their full cycle and mature. It was backed up by growers in a tropical climate saying that as long as any open water in their area had duckweed growing on it they had no mosquito problem. Just an interesting point to think about.
Again, most diseases that mosquitoes can transmit are blood born and if they don't have access to warm blood in which to multiply between when they are taken in by a mosquito until they get into the blood stream of a person, I don't think there is much danger. I don't believe the next generation of mosquitoes is still infective until they bite something that is infected and therefor the fish that eats the larva is doubly protected by one the larva not actually being a carrier since the virus wouldn't survive long beyond all the tiny bit of blood being consumed and two, the fish also not being a warm blooded carrier of the virus either and the fish is consuming the larva, not having it injected into the blood. Then we are again safe by eating the fish and veggies and not injecting them into our blood. And we generally cook our fish before we eat it.
As to the duckweed stopping mosquitoes from finishing their development, I don't know. I've always made sure to either use mosquito dunks or fish in my duckweed tanks.
I believe mosquito fish are allowed here in Florida (not sure they might actually be native here.)
Thank you everyone for all your great suggestions and advice! :) The duckweed claim is very interesting, especially since someday I was going to look into growing/freezing it as a winter store for fish food. Guppies used in a sump, though, sounds like the way to go for me (won't be eating them anyway). But it's nice to know mossies shouldn't cause a problem in the system. And I can always attach netting to a frame and place it over the top of the tank, which should also give me the added advantage of keeping opportunistic birds and my curious cats at bay.
Lynx: 10-4 just looked up Poeciliidae and it is allowed in Florida but you have the check it off on the Aquaculture Certification Application.