March 1, 2016
We have really been enjoying Mustang Island and Port Aransas. There are many cool things to do here, but I’ve chosen to write about the one thing that threatens my delight with this spot. Actually any and all delightful spots. I’ve decided to report on the one thing in the world that I hate more than almost anything – MOSQUITOES !!!
I guess I mainly hate them because they love, love, love me. And believe me, it’s not a passing fancy. They have loved me for years – probably my entire life. I dread summers when they’re out in full force. Do you put on spray you ask? I have every kind of spray and device imaginable, which for me – do not work. I have citronella candles that I place strategically at my ankles, along with a small fan. They just come at me from a direction in which the fan assists them in their goal. I have this little contraption that ticks, that you’re to wear on a belt or where ever on your person. Supposedly, it mimics the sound of dragonfly wings, a natural predator of the mosquito, so they stay away – yeah, right. I guess in the places where I live and visit, the mosquitoes don’t know they’re supposed to be afraid of dragonflies.
Another great predator of this pest is bats. They love to eat mosquitoes, unfortunately, most people do not like, are afraid of, and stay away from bat s and their habitats. I have creams, lotions, and potions. I’ve tried Avon’s Skin-So-Soft. One problem is that, if they work at all, they only work on the spots to which the repellents have been applied. I’s not like the odor works in a given radius away from the spray spot. Oh no – that would be too easy. So if I forget say, an earlobe, they will find that lobe, and they will chomp on it until there’s not a drop of blood left. The next day, I have huge welts that itch. Day 3 – same thing- itchy welts, but they may also be infected.
If by some chance I remember to put the repellent on every spot – it doesn’t last for an entire evening. No, after several hours, I have to excuse myself, find a ladies room, and reapply. I smell so becoming on an evening out – not !
There are few animals animals on Earth that can bring about the deep-seated dislike that mosquitoes do – not just for me, but for all of the thousands, nay, millions of people who become nourishment for these pests. My brother suffers like I do. Once we were vacationing with Lou and his wife Bev, in Ocracoke, North Carolina. About 4:30 pm seems to be feeding time there for green heads. When we got back from the beach, the green heads started to attack. Lou jumped in the pool to avoid being bitten. If he tried to get out of the water, they were right there waiting for him. It was pretty funny. Every so often, Lou would emerge for a breath, at different parts of the pool. He looked very much like a hippopotamus, with only ears, eyes, and nostrils out of the water, trying to determine if it was safe to emerge.
The scenario is usually thus – you spot one on your skin, and swat, and perhaps have the misfortune to have to try to swat a second time. These tiny creatures have the ability to sense our murderous intentions, take flight, and disappear milliseconds before the fatal blow.
Not only are they an itchy, irritating nuisance, mosquitoes are carriers for some of humanity’s most deadly illnesses. In fact they’re the deadliest animals on earth, public enemy number one in the fight against global infectious disease. According to the CDC, they kill approximately 500,00 people per year, mostly children. There are about 3,000 species of mosquito, The state that has the most species, 85, is right here — Texas. Second is Florida with 80. Luckily, only three species, that we know of, are responsible for illnesses such as Malaria, West Nile Virus, Elephantiasis, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, and Chikungunya. And now, we have the Zika virus. Sheesh!
Mosquitoes use exhaled carbon dioxide, body odors and temperature, as well as movement to home in on their victims. But only the female mosquitoes have the mouth parts necessary for sucking our blood – thank God. Can you imagine if the males were as vicious, there would be double the torture. Plus – here’s a silver lining – humans are actually not the first choice for most mosquitoes looking for a meal. They usually prefer horses, cattle, and birds. Great – maybe I should become a cattle rancher.
Is there a way to get rid of these varmints permanently?
Well, all mosquitoes need water to breed, so eradication and population-control efforts usually involve removal or treatment of standing water sources, like puddles, still fountains, and marsh areas. Insecticide spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is also widespread. However, global efforts to stop the spread of mosquitoes are having little effect, and many scientists think global warming will likely increase their number and range. Note To Global Warming Naysayers – GET ON BOARD!
On a personal level, be especially careful after it rains. Be aware of when and where the water collects. We can stop wearing perfumes and mists, use no hair spray or hair products of any kind. Keep your feet clean and fresh – maybe wear socks. One article had the nerve to say that research has shown that mosquitoes are attracted to Limburger cheese, and that may be one reason they go for feet and ankles.
I simply must defend myself here. I’ll have you know that my feet are clean, dry and have no odor whatsoever – cheese – how dare they !!!
Tim is my hero indoors. When the sun goes down, we have to be very aware to open and close the door quickly. If not, our tiny home will be infested in no time. Why? Because they’re following me. When they do get inside, my hero goes for the swatter, and begins a vicious attack.
Even though he’s my hero inside, he says he likes to sit next to me when we’re outside, because I am his insurance policy that he most definitely will not get bitten. Maybe I can find someone they like more than me, and sit next to them…
And it’s not just mosquitoes- oh no – it’s no-seeums, horse flies, black flies, and green flies, also known as green heads. Tim and I were once in Brigantine, New Jersey, the green head capital of the world.
One of the little “blanks” latched on to the seat of my white knit pants – and he – would – not – let – go. I swear they have teeth! Tim was swatting at him with his bare hands, to try and bring about his demise. I wasn’t sure what would happen first – the fly would finally get his just desserts, or my butt would be so swollen and bruised from the swatting, that I could’t sit down. It was then we decided that they must have teeth – kind of like a cartoon horse fly. Later – and I swear this is true – they were flying into the glass windows of our car to get at me. Imagine – flies that are willing to chance death by windshield, kamikaze flies, if you will, just to get a little nibble of me. I must be delicious !
Next time you see me, please don’t invite me to sit outside, at dusk, particularly on a humid day, where flying flags are limp! I would like to , but I simply cannot. You can be sure we have other plans.