Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blood Sucking Scum

 “Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think.”
(Tom Wilson)

Our winter in Montana was a wet one.  In the little town I live in we received over 120 inches of snow during the winter months . . . then spring was a little rainier than usual . . . making for a damp spring and early summer as the snow melt combined with the extra rain.  Mother Earth seems to like such combinations as everything popped out green as everything and anything seemed to sprout.  It was a beautiful time in Montana and it is only now that it is beginning to return to its normal brown for the summer.  But, plants are not the only things that appreciate extra moisture . . . so do the insects!

Along with the beautiful green has come a bevy of insects . . . especially mosquitoes . . . blood sucking mosquitoes!  There are three insects that I dislike . . . no, I should be honest . . . that I hate.  Those insects are flies, ticks, and mosquitoes.  Flies are a constant irritation once the weather warms up.  Ticks are a nuisance whenever hiking or walking through tall grass.  Mosquitoes . . . well, mosquitoes are a royal pain in just about every part of the body including the proverbial arse.  Of the three insect I hate, I have move mosquitoes up to the top of the list . . . they are nothing short of being blood sucking scum.

Most of the places I have lived mosquitoes did not become a nuisance until the sun started setting in the evening.  In the evening they came out in force as little vampires seeking the rich blood of us humans.  Not here in Montana.  In Montana, the mosquitoes figure that any time is a good time to suck the blood of humans.  It does not matter what time of the day in Montana, there is always the possibility of getting bit by a mosquito.  In the majority of the places where I lived the communities would spray a couple times a week for mosquitoes.  They would drive through town with a truck that had a fogging machine spewing out mosquito repellant.  For the most part, anything within twenty feet of that truck was effectively sprayed . . . anything beyond, well, good luck.  But, at least they made an effort to kill the blood sucking scum.  Here in Montana it is everyone for him or herself.

Thanks to the wet winter and spring we have a particularly mosquito infested summer.  They seem to be everywhere.  It has been, forgive the pun, a sucky summer as far as mosquitoes go.

These pesky little boogers are persistent in their relentless pursuit of human blood.  It seems that there really is nothing less than using thirty percent Deet that keeps them away . . . trust me, I know.

That is the minimum percentage of mosquito repellent that I will use . . . thirty percent Deet.  Deet is not good for humans.  Most of the mosquito repellent that is available off the shelf usually has no Deet or very little Deet.  Mosquitoes laugh at such repellent . . . they see it as a bonus, like flowers on the table while dining out, adding a little fragrance to their meal.  Yet, at least around our homestead and while hiking, we use nothing less than thirty percent Deet . . . the higher the percentage, the better.  Most Montanans with any common sense know this . . . it is the state cologne for men and perfume for women in Montana.  It is a scent everyone in Montana recognizes . . . plus it is a heck of a lot cheaper than anything you can buy at the fragrance counter in most stores . . . plus it is much more effective.  So far, this summer that has become my scent.  I have noticed that it is not a scent that is very attractive to the opposite sex . . . and that the birth rates in Montana are pretty low in February, March, and April.  We can thank Deet for that . . . but, by God, we are mosquito-free!

Another method we use to keep the mosquitoes at bay is burning citronella oil.  Citronella oil supposedly has a chemical makeup that keeps mosquitoes away.  I am not really sure whether or not this is true as I often have covered every inch of my body with thirty percent Deet . . . but, when I am outside at night, I burn citronella oil in my lanterns.  It seems to work . . . but, again, when one is slathered in thirty percent Deet . . .

Probably the most popular method for mosquito control is the good ol’ fashion swatting method . . . you know, just smacking the hell out of the little farts!  This is a great method if there are only one or two of the little suckers bothering you . . . but, mosquitoes number in the billions if not the trillions.  The swatting methods, though rewarding for its effort, is pretty darn ineffective in solving the problem.

Basically, at least in Montana, mosquitoes are a given . . . you are not going to escape them . . . they are everywhere!  They are a part of the summer mystique and lure of Montana.  At one time it was suggested that the state adopt the mosquito as the state bird . . . but, no, we decided to jump on the bandwagon of the Meadowlark with a thousand other states.  Mosquitoes can be swatted . . . they can be sprayed . . . they can be Citronella to death . . . and, they will still be there.  The blood sucking scum is just a reality Montanans have to live with . . . it literally sucks!

With mosquito bites I am pretty fortunate.  Most mosquito bites I get only bother me for the first thirty minutes or so . . . then they just seem to disappear.  I am pretty fortunate in that regard.  Others, though, are not as fortunate.  When the little vampires bite their bodies become an infestation of bumps.  Little children are susceptible . . . the elderly seem susceptible . . . my wife, who has gotten West Nile Virus from a mosquito bite putting in the hospital for a week, is susceptible.  The little blood sucker mar the bodies of those we love . . . creating little mountain ranges.

One evening, after coming in from being outside, I suggested to the two-year-old granddaughter that we play a game . . . connect the dots on Grandma . . . on Nana.  Needless to say it would have been interesting to see what we came up with . . . it got me a night on the couch.  The wife did not see the adventure and creativity in it.

I am not really sure what the purpose of mosquitoes is.  I imagine that in God’s grand scheme of things, mosquitoes have a purpose.  I imagine in Darwin’s scheme of evolution, mosquitoes have a purpose.  I also know that since the great flood of Noah, people have been cursing the fact that Noah brought two of those little blood suckers onto the ark.  As far as I am concerned . . . mosquitoes have not purpose, no real necessary reason for existence.  Yet, I do have to give God and Darwin some slack . . . after several million years, mosquitoes are still with us.

I guess the old man, Ralph Waldo Emerson, is right . . . if nothing else, mosquitoes remind us that we humans are not as high up the food chain as we thought . . . we are sort of middle of the roaders when it comes to the importance of things . . . after all, we are a food source for a pesky little, blood-sucking insect.  Oh well, it really does not matter.  I am going to continue to work at moving the human race up the food chain . . . I am going to continue to mount a full offense against mosquitoes.  I would like to enjoy at least one evening during the year . . . when the temperature is not below zero . . . with the blood sucking scum!  Or, I will vote for the mosquito to become the next state bird for Montana.

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