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Blood Suckers
Julie Maxey-Allison | 10th Street

Ready or not, here they come seeking to suck your blood: mosquitos! These annoying, thirsty predators will soon be buzzing about, adding a certain sound to summer.

Mosquito is Spanish for little fly and that is what a mosquito is, a type of fly that has been around for more than 2 million years. And, they have figured a way to keep on going. While the male mosquito’s life span is on average 10 days, the females live for 42-56 days. This extra time allows them to mother as many as three sets of 300 eggs per time. Most probably will.

Of course, they need protein and nutrients found in blood to nourish their larvae. Their favorite meals are the easiest to find and, one must assume, the most satisfying. It may be you.

Here are the qualifications for candidates most sought after by mosquitos:

• You breathe. Mosquitos can detect your presence from as far as 160 feet through the smell of the carbon dioxide you exhale.

• You have natural bacteria residing on your skin. Everybody does. They like that.

• You have type O blood. They think it the most appealing, delicious blood type followed by type B and then type A.

• You are naturally warm. They like heat.

• You exercise. They like the heat and think the lactic acid you produce is an added delicacy.

• You drink beer. They have a hankering for beer drinkers, possibly because it raises body temperature or, simply, they like beer.

• You wear red, dark blue or black clothes. These are their preferred colors.

• You are pregnant. Pregnant women are especially exciting to mosquitos with their double delight of exhaling an extra 20% more carbon dioxide and tending to be generally warmer during those happy months.

You can control your controllables. Still, even if you are blood type O, pregnant, exercise wearing red, and top it off with a beer, well there is always a chance your genetic makeup will disqualify you. Some of you have genes with natural repellers, some of you don’t.

Know that our local mosquitos are just annoying, not the malaria carrying Anopheles mosquitos or other disease carrying varieties that are considered to be the deadliest animal in the world killing 1 million people each year—mostly in Africa.Their main natural predators are fish and dragonflies with bats who don’t really eat many, way down at the end of the list.

To keep them at bay, try Deet or Picaridin. They don’t like them. The less aggressive lemon eucalyptus oil can also be an effective deterrent. Insecticides like permethrin kill on contact but, that is one at a time. If you are thinking of electrocution with those zappers, they don’t get rid of many mosquitos and do kill harmless insects.



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