The Mosquito Wars presents a comprehensive and insightful analysis of the development of human beings efforts to wage war on mosquitoes in 20th-century Florida. Drawing on archival records, interviews, and published records, Gordon Patterson provides readers with a context for understanding how mosquito control has shaped the environment of contemporary Florida. Patterson reveals how the discovery that yellow fever, malaria, and dengue fever were mosquito-borne diseases had a profound impact on Florida's development in the first half of the 20th century. State agencies organized campaigns against the disease-bearing insects. World War II opened a new era in mosquito control; the United States Department of Agriculture pioneered the use of DDT as an insecticide, and by 1944 army and navy pilots were regularly flying anti-mosquito missions. The 1950s ushered in a new objective - to reduce not only disease-bearing mosquitoes but also pest and nuisance mosquitoes. The growing problem of chemical resistance, however, led to the use of new and more powerful pesticides, raising concerns about the environmental impact of these chemicals on biologically sensitive wetlands.
Gordon Patterson is professor of history at the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne. He has written a number of study guides and articles, most recently Proneers in Mosquito Control: Leland Ossim Howard, An American Original.