The pesky mosquito
Published 9:19 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017
I am that thankful the rain finally came this past week after what seemed like a very long and hot dry spell.
Many of the plants in the vegetable garden struggled with the excessive dry heat and have ended their fruitful season once more.
Fall and winter vegetables and greens will be planted soon, and I have been busying myself preparing for the activity.
While ambling about the garden I have taken notice of the abundance of biting pests about. All seemingly attracted immediately to me, some days much more so than others. Spotting pools of water in various areas from a recent downpour of rain, I got to thinking a whole lot about one pesky nuisance in particular the mosquito.
There are hundreds of species of mosquito. The Common House Mosquito (Culex pipiens) is so named for its being found around homes in any standing water. I was surprised to learn that mosquitoes can hatch in the smallest amount of water even in the drainage tray under flower pots. These nasty creatures are vectors of certain forms of Encephalitis, Meningitis, Urticarial, West Nile Virus and possibly Zika virus.
There are scientific reasons as to why the mosquito is attracted to certain people more so than others. There has been much research and study done on the topic. Here are some of the findings.
• They are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale. So heavier breathers will be more attractive to the mosquito. If you are an asthmatic, pregnant or obese you may breath heavier than normal.
• The lactic acid in perspiration also attracts them. Try to wear clothing that breathes and wicks the dampness from your skin while performing any activity outdoors that may cause heavy perspiration.
• Consuming alcohol may also cause the mosquito to favor you as a host over the person standing next to you if they have not chosen to enjoy a nice cool adult beverage on a hot day or evening. The ethanol content on the breath and in the sweat of someone who has imbibed will attract some mosquitoes.
• Everyone’s microflora (bacteria) in their bodies differ. It has been found that mosquitoes will be more attracted to you if you have a higher amount of staphylococcus bacteria ratio and less attracted if there is a higher Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria ratio in your microflora.
• Studies have shown that people with blood types O and A are also more attractive to the mosquito though it is not clear why.
The most powerful and effective first line of defense is knowledge, which is why I have choose to share my thoughts on the mosquito. Being vigilant about emptying all forms of standing water daily, wearing protective clothing and using repellent during outdoor activity will all help to thwart off the mosquito and keep you healthy.
If you have concerns regarding the safety of commercial bug repellents, you may want to research some natural alternatives.
There are some very simple repellent recipes that include all natural essential oils like lavender and thyme. Also, if you have rain barrels or a decorative standing water garden, I suggest using Mosquito Dunks. They are made with Bt-israelensis (Bt-i) and one dunk kills mosquito larvae in the water up to 30 days. This product claims that it will not harm people, pets, wildlife or fish.
Dawn Conrad is a columnist for The K-V Dispatch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or fb.me/conrad.gardenmuse.