I'm a Mosquito Banquet
mosquitoes are buzzing around my house like vultures with forks,
spoons and dinner bibs. I don't know if it is the recent rain that has
created this insect population explosion or if there is another
explanation. All I know is that I seem to be the blue plate special on
the mosquito menu.
I am one of the 20% of people that attracts more of
these protein-suckers than other people. This means when I am outside,
I am a casserole on the mosquito smorgasbord.
Some of us are mosquito magnets while others wonder
why we are smacking, scratching, and swatting when they don't feel a
thing. Some researchers think it is due to blood type, type O being
the preferred vintage.
Other theories are that the attraction is carbon
dioxide from heavy breathing during work or lactic acid found in
sweat, especially day-old sweat. Excuse me? Have these people never
heard of that American pastime called taking a shower?
As far as the heavy breathing, most of mine is caused
by running away from the creatures, not towards them. I've heard that
eating garlic helps ward them off, but another theory says that the
only thing garlic will repel is your spouse or your date for the
The truth seems to be that nothing yet discovered
helps much except a heavy duty insect repellent containing DEET. The
chemical is supposed to be perfectly safe, but some resources say it
is dangerous -- probably the 80% who are not a tasty staple in the
mosquito recipe book.
A new prevention idea is a do-it-yourself remedy. Mix
8 ounces of witch hazel with 50 drops of essential oils and spray
yourself generously. If this can keep me off the Food Network for
mosquitoes, I'm willing to try it.
I've tried almost everything to keep them away.
Citronella candles only work to keep the mosquitoes away from the
candle and bug zappers fry a few of the bugs, but mosquitoes always
send in replacements for their fallen comrades. Mosquitoes can smell a
free dinner from 100 feet away.
The good news is that only the female mosquitoes bite.
Thank God, or I would have twice as many red lumps to scratch and
infect. Female mosquitoes need my blood to be able to reproduce.
Sorry, but I am not the insect maternity ward. If I wanted to donate,
I would give at the local blood bank, not in the back yard.
When the mosquito stabs you and sucks your blood, it
also injects saliva to keep the blood from clotting. Your body is
allergic and reacts to this venom by developing the red, itchy lumps
that you are scratching like a cat clawing furniture.
If that isn't bad enough, mosquitoes also carry
diseases. One of the diseases made famous by mosquitoes is malaria.
Fortunately, it is seldom seen in our country. Another infamous
sickness is the West Nile Virus. But mosquitoes don't seem to know
that the Nile is in Africa, not the U.S.
My area does not normally have so many of these pests.
We have had a lot of rain and mosquitoes breed in standing water.
Probably the back waters and floods have created a fertile hatchery as
the mosquitoes are really rolling out the babies this year.
Mosquitoes are supposed to stay hidden in grass when
it is daylight and do their meal planning at dusk. Apparently the
mosquitoes don't know the rules because this year they are standing in
the soup line in the middle of the day.
My new weapons are an anti-inflammatory, a can of bug
repellent, and a back scratcher.