Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center
Musquetors excessively troublesom
- William Clark (who used 19 different spellings for the pests)
Mosquitoes make us reach for the insect repellent, since being bitten by a mosquito can be anything from annoying to deadly. Female mosquitoes must feed on blood to form eggs that are laid in water. Adults emerge in 5 to 14 days. Mosquitoes live from several weeks to several months.
When mosquitoes feed on more than one host, they may spread diseases. Malaria and yellow fever were once common in the United States, but they were eliminated from the United States by the 1950s. Eradication efforts included draining areas where mosquitoes breed, and the use of the pesticide DDT.
West Nile virus appeared in North America in 1999 and quirky speed across the continent. It is passed from birds to humans primarily by mosquitoes, and usually causes mild flu-like symptoms. About 10 percent of the cases in humans result in serious illness or death.
The best prevention from illness is protection from mosquito bites. Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially near dawn and dusk. Cover your skin and use a repellent. At home, eliminate stagnant water in you yard.
In the evening...We walked along the forest above the fort (Union)....and could barely ward off the large swarms of mosquitoes
that assailed us on the open prairie.
—Prince Maximilian, 23 June 1833
...I find it entirely impossible to hunt in the bottoms, those insects being So noumerous and tormenting... our best retreat from those insects is on the Sand bars in the river and even those Situations are only clear of them when the Wind Should happen to blow.... The torments of those Missquetors and the want of a Sufficety of Buffalow meat to dry... induced me to deturmine to proceed on to a more eliagiable Spot on the Missouri below at which place the Musquetors will be less troublsome and Buffalow more plenty....wrote to Capt Lewis informing him of my intentions and tied it to a pole which I had Stuck up in the point....The Child of Shabono has been So much bitten by the Musquetor that his face is much puffed up & Swelled.
— William Clark, Monday August 4th 1806