Since the paper doesn't pay me to write (nor do they advertise my column), I shall take it upon myself to suck around for publicity. Any newspaper publishers out there are welcome to contact me about syndication. I will be holding my breath, waiting for calls. In the meantime, here's this week's offering. Names have been deleted to protect the paranoid.
SQUELCH THE SKEETER INVASION!
A lot of things have come out of the recent flood events, most notably an outpouring of sympathy for the folks in Coffeyville, Osawatomie and other stricken areas. Oh, and the most recent gas gouge. But there’s some humor, too. M. asked if I would be writing about rice this week, as Mother Nature has provided us with lots of ready-made paddies.
Close, but no cigar. I decided that mosquitoes would be a good choice of subject. The puddles of water still stagnating here and there are prime breeding grounds for the little bloodsuckers.
Floodwaters are dangerous in and of themselves. Who knows what’s floating around in there? Some of that water comes from backed-up sewers, which is why I cringe whenever I see someone swimming in flooded areas. Throw a couple of lovestruck mosquitoes into that mess, and you’ve got major problems.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” says the Book of Ecclesiastes. Well, now is the season of biting, stinging and drilling insects, but I have yet to determine their purpose. Let us away to the computer!
Mosquitoes are members of the order Diptera. Over 2500 species have been catalogued worldwide, with 200 of those right here in the U.S. Quick, which sex is responsible for making you a blood donor? Did you say “female”? You’re right! Girl skeeters have the piercing proboscis for puncturing people. Sorry, guys. Male mosquito mouthparts just aren’t made for the job.
Those itchy bites aren’t just a nuisance, they’re a health hazard. Yellow fever, encephalitis, malaria and West Nile Virus are some of the possible results of a bite.
According to www.mosquito.org, there are lots of ways to protect yourself from a potentially disease-carrying bite. Here are just a few:
1. Avoid areas where skeeters hide. These include shady or damp places, especially during the early morning or around sunset.
2. Since mosquitoes aren’t very strong flight-wise, try bringing a fan onto your porch or deck to blow them off course—and away from you.
3. Long sleeves and pant legs will keep hungry bugs from turning you into a buffet, as will various plant-based repellents. A few drops of essential oils of lemongrass and tea tree in water makes an effective spray against a number of different pests. Sorry, siblings are not included in the list.
4. REMOVE ALL STANDING WATER ON YOUR PROPERTY. This includes old tires, clogged roof gutters, wading pools and pool covers and ruts in your yard or driveway. It doesn’t take much water to give skeeters a place to breed. An old soda can or overturned garbage lid is plenty big enough. Clean out pet bowls daily, and change the water in your birdbath often.
Got bites? Get relief in the form of a cool compress. You can also dab on tea tree oil, or try a thick paste of baking soda and water. Spread it directly onto the bite and try to avoid spreading it on your furniture.
Coming next week: the humble (yet nutritious) oat.
There you have it. Hopefully the press will start running soon, but if it doesn't, I brought the manly sock with me. Of course. Working on the gussets now, hooray! The photography session went well. Gonna do some more tomorrow with guitars as props. Then a NAP! Yeah, right. :)