The modern application of using insects in warfare started in the 1930s when Japan, Germany and the Soviet Union conducted research into deliberately spreading disease through insects. Although, according to several reports, it was Canada, during World War II, which pioneered the effort to develop the plague flea as a weapon. (2)Also read:
Interest in insect warfare started in the U.S during the Cold War, when the U.S. Army began to seriously research the potential of entomological warfare.
According to an article published during this time in the Boston Globe entitled, “Bug Bomb,” the U.S. military developed plans for an entomological warfare facility that was designed to produce 100 million mosquitos infected with yellow fever each month and to test the mosquito biting capacity by dropping uninfected mosquitoes over U.S cities. (3)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to Wikipedia’s evaluation of entomological warfare, during the Korean War, officials from both North Korea and China accused the United States of engaging in biological warfare activities, a claim that has been thoroughly denied by the U.S.
Throughout the 1950s, the U.S piloted a number of field tests using entomological weapons, including Operation Big Itch, which was conducted in 1954 to test munitions loaded with uninfected fleas. A year later, the U.S. launched Operation Big Buzz, which involved dropping more than 300,000 yellow fever mosquitos over areas of Georgia to investigate whether the mosquitos could survive the fall and take their meals from human beings. (4)
- Amazon.com: Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War (9780195333053): Jeffrey A. Lockwood: Books
|Cover via Amazon|
Beginning in prehistoric times and building toward a near and disturbing future, the reader is taken on a journey of innovation and depravity. Award-winning science writer Jeffrey A. Lockwood begins with the development of "bee bombs" in the ancient world and explores the role of insect-borne disease in changing the course of major battles, ranging from Napoleon's military campaigns to the trenches of World War I. He explores the horrific programs of insect warfare during World War II: airplanes dropping plague-infested fleas, facilities rearing tens of millions of hungry beetles to destroy crops, and prison camps staffed by doctors testing disease-carrying lice on inmates. The Cold War saw secret government operations involving the mass release of specially developed strains of mosquitoes on an unsuspecting American public--along with the alleged use of disease-carrying and crop-eating pests against North Korea and Cuba. Lockwood reveals how easy it would be to use of insects in warfare and terrorism today: In 1989, domestic ecoterrorists extorted government officials and wreaked economic and political havoc by threatening to release the notorious Medfly into California's crops.
A remarkable story of human ingenuity--and brutality--Six-Legged Soldiers is the first comprehensive look at the use of insects as weapons of war, from ancient times to the present day.