On to our second installment of Fun in the Southern Summer Sun:
I’m going to go ahead and put it out there, mosquitoes are the original EVIL BITCHES. They have been around for about 30 million years and are still going strong. Kinda like cockroaches *shudder*, why can’t something nice be the things left over from 30 million years ago, you know like tiny butterflies or something? They get the bitches title because the ones don’t bite, they mate & die (typical), the ladies mate, bite, mate, bite for weeks before they die. They bite, inject that saliva *another shudder* that itches like hell, and then gone on to make baby evil bitches. Sorry, being itchy makes me bitter…
I already mentioned that it was a mild winter so the little bastards are going to be swarming like crazy this summer (and already are). That’s not an old wives tale, it has to do with ground freezing and killing off mosquitoes over the winter, the fewer freezes, the more of them made it through. When I was researching for this I discovered that there are about 2,7000 species of mosquitoes all around the world (I was unaware, & Damn!). I will be discussing mosquito generalities here and specifically the ones native to us here in the South. But first some brief facts that apply to mosquitoes all over:
- They lay eggs/larva develop in standing water (go outside RIGHT now & empty any buckets, etc in your yard!)
- They can make you sick (not just sick of them) this is the break down of the worst case scenarios:
- Malaria -Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by an Anopheles mosquito. The parasite grows in your bloodstream and can produce symptoms that develop anywhere from six to eight days to several months after infection. The symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches and general malaise (similar to flu symptoms). Malaria is a severe disease that can be fatal, but can be treated with antimalarial drugs. Malaria is prevalent in tropical or sub-tropical climates.
- Yellow Fever – Yellow fever no longer occurs in the United States or Europe, but it is prevalent in Africa and parts of South America. It is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Yellow fever produces symptoms similar to malaria, but also includes nausea, vomiting and jaundice. Like malaria, yellow fever can be fatal. There is no treatment for the disease itself, only the symptoms. Yellow fever can be controlled by vaccination and mosquito control.
- Encephalitis – Encephalitis is caused by viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes such as the Aedes mosquitoes or Culiseta mosquitoes. The symptoms of encephalitis include high fever, stiff neck, headache, confusion and laziness/sleepiness. There are several types of encephalitis that can be transmitted by mosquitoes, including St. Louis, Western equine, Eastern equine, La Crosse and West Nile. West Nile encephalitis is on the rise in the eastern United States, which has raised concerns about mosquito control .
- Dengue Fever – Dengue fever is transmitted by the Asian tiger mosquito, which is native to East Asia and was found in the United States in 1985. It is also transmitted by Aedes aegypti in the tropics. Dengue fever is caused by a virus that produces a range of illnesses, from viral flu to hemorrhagic fever. It is especially dangerous for children.
- Not HIV! The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS cannot survive in a mosquito, and therefore cannot be transmitted from one person to another through mosquito bites.
So now that the scary is out there to give you nightmares, I can personally tell you I have been bitten millions of times this week in my lifetime and have never had any of the above, so there you go. *shrug* So what’s a girl to do? Stay inside during the long, hot summer nights? Absolutely not! That’s when I get my best drinking/dancing done! Wear pants and hoodies when it’s 95 degrees at 10pm? Hell no. That is why God gave us bug spray, citronella candles, etc. (Mostly cause He wants me to be happy, loving dude that he is, which involves me dancing barefoot in the moonlight) That is what this post is really about. (the spray & candles, not the drinking & dancing , that’ll be a later post)
Here in NC we tell “Skeeter Tales”, they are like “Fish Tales” except it’s
“How big was that mosquito Jerry?” “Well it picked up Earl [the dog] an’ toted him near all the way to ole Fred’s place…” I myself have seen this happen (mostly small, slow, yippee dogs). 😉
These stories are told with immense amounts of pride, similar to the stories about a hurricane’s wind strength, or how deep the storm surge was. I can say I have personally been bit by a palm-sized mosquito which left a knee-sized whelp. (I’m itchy just describing it) So we know loads about mosquitoes, due to NC being an all night buffet from about April through October.
*Again these are products I use and purchase on my own and I’m still not actually a doctor… yeah I think that’s all the disclaimers out-of-the-way…*
I have done tons of personal experimentation with bug repellents (only human trials, no animals were harmed) and have discovered the repellents come in three main categories; Sunscreen combined with Bug Repellent, Bug Repellent, and “Natural Ingredient” Bug Repellent. These are my recommendations for each, keep in mind my sensitive skinned child & that I use all of this stuff on her & the boys unless otherwise specified.
(sensitive skin/not as powerful bug repellent as my other recommendation)
“Natural Ingredient” Bug Repellent: (Natural is in quotes because it contains more natural than the others & is marketed that way, but this stuff does not actually occur in nature)Also wins award for best smell of an effective Bug Repellent.
I will now list some things that allegedly keep mosquitoes away that I have not had much success with but if you Google “repel mosquitoes” these are some ideas you’ll see:
*All of these listed above are good for relieving the itch after you’ve been bitten, just not at preventing bites.*
Citronella plant (the oil from 1 growing plant isn’t concentrated enough to repel, you have to but lots of candles & ring yourself in the for them to work) But these to do work if you use enough at a time:
Rubbing Alcohol also works, but we all know how that burns!
Happy Memorial Day weekend all!