Elite Military Forces Fought A War Against Caterpillars
Just about every country in the world has to struggle with insect pests. Sometimes insect pests can cause dramatic economic crises, such as insects that damage crops. And other times insect pests can pose public health risks; obviously mosquitoes and ticks fall into this category. When it comes to addressing and combating insect pests, the government often gets involved. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formulate public health measures aimed at preventing insect-borne outbreaks. But the idea that a government would declare war on a particular insect pest species, and deploy troops to combat the species, is ridiculous, right? Whether or not the idea is ridiculous is a matter of personal opinion, but the government of at least one country did, in fact, deploy armed troops to fight the spread of an insect species within its borders.
A little over a decade ago, Belgium’s government went to war with caterpillars. Using highly trained and armed soldiers to fight a scourge of caterpillars may seem like overkill. But in this case, the caterpillars were the feared processionary caterpillars. These caterpillars are known for causing a wide range of health problems to humans. Some of these health issues include, dermatitis and respiratory problems. Processionary caterpillars earn their name from the way in which they travel in straight lines.
Processionary caterpillars had been causing numerous health problems for Belgian citizens located near forested areas. One affected region saw eighty percent of its human population fall victim to health issues related to the caterpillar. Twenty four soldiers and airmen were ordered to work with the fire brigade and civil protection authority to eradicate the population of processionary caterpillars within the country. Each soldier was issued a supersized flamethrower in order to kill each processionary caterpillar population within various Belgian forests. The soldiers destroyed the caterpillars tree-by-tree. This drastic military measure was only considered after aerial pesticide spraying and trap setting failed to prevent further dangerous encounters between the caterpillars and the human population.
Do you think that ticks could be successfully eradicated in the United States by using soldiers from the American military?