Like it or not, we here in Houston have to deal with these little buggers a lot!
I had no idea, though, that we had so many different kinds of the critters! Probably a good thing that I didn't know, because I can't do anything about them except gripe!
I've probably tried just about every kind of repellent known to man, but I still get bitten a lot. When I drank a lot of beer in my younger days, it seems to me I didn't get bitten quite as much...but it could be that the booze just made those memories fade away some, ya know?
Anyway, it seems that we have 55 or 56 different kinds of mosquitoes here in the greater Houston area and you know what? They all bite! A lot!!
Here's a story from the Houston Chronicle that tells a little about this critter!
The hated mosquito comes under scientific scrutinyCopyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
By TARA DOOLEY
July 6, 2010, 6:08PM
Sure, they are part of the food chain. They may pollinate something, but what and how much is a subject of study. But mostly they breed, pester, attack and, sometimes, transmit disease.
"They do keep entomologists employed," joked Dan Kline, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Gainesville, Fla. "That's a good thing. But other than that, I'm really hard-pressed to say something really nice about them."
They are interesting in their many varieties.
Kline is particularly interested in what attracts and repels them.
Mike Merchant, an urban entomologist in Dallas, studies Texas' rogues gallery of pests including cockroaches, termites and fire ants.
"I guess I'm interested in mosquitoes because they bite me," said Merchant, who works with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, an agency of the Texas A&M University System.
And they do bite, morning, noon and night, said Molly Keck, an entomologist with the San Antonio office of the extension service.
Though they often bloom, so to speak, after a rain, mosquitoes can always be a problem, Keck said.
"I would say they are bad every single year," she said, "whether we have a lot of rain or we don't."
THE BUZZ ON MOSQUITOES
That faint buzzing sound driving you crazy? 10 facts to divert your attention:
1.More than 3,000 varieties of mosquito inhabit the world. More than 200 live in the United States. San Antonio is home to more than 50, and Houston has 55 or 56 varieties.
2. Only female mosquitoes bite and suck blood. They need the protein to produce eggs.
3. After the bite, the result - think red welt and itching - is an allergic reaction to mosquito saliva.
4. It is better not to smack a mosquito if she is biting you. That can make the reaction worse. Better to take the pacifist approach and let her do her thing.
5. Mosquitoes don't survive very long after they feed on blood. They usually lay their eggs and then their business on Earth is done. Their life span is usually not much longer than three weeks.
6. Most mosquitoes don't bite humans or carry disease. But the ones that do both can be a problem.
7. Asian tiger mosquitoes, scientifically known as aedes albopictus, are among the most common in urban areas and have a reputation for being nasty. They are daytime feeders. The species was imported from Asia in the 1980s in tires. Its first stop in America was Houston, said Rudy Bueno, director of Harris County's Mosquito Control Division.
8. Another Texas favorite is the Southern house mosquito, or culex quinquefaciatus. This mosquito usually feasts on birds but will creep into a home and bite humans at night. It can carry West Nile virus and encephalitis.
9. Mosquitoes are attracted and repelled by smell and heat. What smells attract them is one of the issues that Dan Kline of the United States Department of Agriculture researches. But it is clear some mosquitoes are attracted to some people more than others. They like natural odors, such as body odors. We know they don't like DEET.
10. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Yet another reason to wear white linen in the summer.
Sources: Dan Kline, research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Gainesville, Fla.; Mike Merchant, urban entomologist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas; Molly Keck, entomologist and integrated pest management program specialist with Bexar County's Texas AgriLife Extension Service; Rudy Bueno, director of Harris County's Mosquito Control Division
HERE'S HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Taking precautions against mosquitoes can have benefits for health and peace of mind.
Be aware of where mosquitoes breed. Many times it is a bucket of water, a birdbath, a tarp with water on it, backyard clippings or junk in the yard that is creating the problem.
Wear repellent. Most mosquito specialists consider DEET effective and safe. Picaridin and lemon eucalyptus can also help.
Stay inside when mosquitoes are most active. That means dawn and dusk, though some mosquitoes bite day and night.
Seal doors and windows. This cuts down on the chances they will get in. Also, close the door behind you.
Source: Mike Merchant, an urban entomologist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas
Just as you thought, mosquitoes have few redeeming qualities.
There ya go! More information than you ever wanted to know about the 'skeeter! One thing about it, they are probably here to stay!
Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit! Don't worry, I got plenty of bug spray to share!