mosquito death squad: now recruiting

Ever since I was a boy, I’ve been marked by members of the blood-sucking insect world as a particularly tasty food source.  I’m not sure why exactly every blood-sucking insect is drawn to me, but I suspect that my easily accessible veins have something to do with it.  Some have dismissed this theory, claiming that insects aren’t intelligent enough to seek out those of us with veins closer to the skin’s surface, but my anecdotal evidence says otherwise.  Others around me with deeper veins remain untouched while I serve as a feeding ground for the entire local mosquito population.  I look at where the bites occur, and for the most part they are directly over the vein.  So I’m willing to give those blood-suckers the credit where it’s due.

In the past, I’ve had run-ins with fleas.  Apparently I’m allergic to fleas, but what that really means is that I’m allergic to their saliva.  At one time I lived in a house where fleas also lived, unbeknownst to me.  They began biting me during the night while I was sleeping.  I’d wake with my ankles covered in welts.  Flea bites are prone to infection, and while I took great care not to scratch the bites, they would often become infected anyway.  During a several month stretch, I was put on antibiotics three or four times.  I began sleeping in layers with socks pulled far up over my pants, despite the summer temperatures.  Nothing I did seemed to stop them.  I literally thought I was going to lose my mind.  To say that my quality of life declined would be an absurdly gross understatement.  I flea-bombed the house and yet the fleas lived on.  I finally bought some powder online that was guaranteed.  I had to move all the furniture and work this stuff into the carpet really good before vacuuming.  I think that finally got them, but I moved out anyway.

These days the worst offenders are the mosquitoes.  Have you heard of the Asian tiger mosquito?  I had not made its acquaintance until recently, but apparently somewhere on my block there is a major breeding ground.  I can’t linger outside my back door for more than three seconds without being bitten.  The tiger mosquito came to the United States from Asia via the used automobile tire trade.  These mosquitoes like to breed in water that pools up in used tires sitting around outdoors.  Hooray, yet another scourge we can blame on car culture!  These mosquitoes are like regular mosquitoes on steroids.  Whereas other mosquitoes come out to feed only at dusk, the Asian tiger mosquito feeds all day long!  Isn’t that great?  So now I can’t even go out into my yard in the middle of the day without getting bitten at least six times.  Another great thing about Asian tiger mosquitoes is that their bites last much longer on average than regular mosquito bites.  I’ve found my bites from these fiends itch for several days, whereas regular mosquito bites usually fade rather quickly, often within the hour.  Even more awesome is that these mosquitoes are like ninjas; you don’t feel them while they’re biting you so you can’t even attempt to stop them.  They are also known to be particularly agile in avoiding being slapped.

Tiger mosquitoes breed in any containers holding water, and so have thrived in residential areas.  Many of the birds and bats that consume massive quantities of insects don’t live in the city, and so there is not much in the natural world of the city to keep these mosquito populations in check.  The best defense is not to allow water to sit outside in any type of container.  But when you live in a rowhouse community, this presents a problem.  You may prevent breeding in your own yard, but you can’t stop everyone else from letting water sit around.

My solution this summer has been to stay out of the yard.  Lately, though, some mosquitoes have gotten into the house.  They bite me at random times and I suffer quietly while they go sleep off the drunken stupor they’ve gained from gorging on my blood.  Awhile later they return to bite me again.  Eventually they die, I guess, but by then it doesn’t matter…they’ve done their damage.

I’m really looking forward to winter.

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  1. spring sprang sprung | lost gander


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