Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Mosquito-Ridden Life

I just won a big argument on Ebay. Someone had stolen a couple of the pictures I'd taken (I do take excellent pics worthy of being stolen). I had a fit, contacted Ebay, and demanded that they be taken down. They agreed, and the pics were removed. I gather this happens all the time, so it's really not worthy of notice except to seque into the topic of mosquitoes in Florida.

I am outdoors often. Although I usually work from home, there are reasons to be out and about. For one thing, I am always taking those pictures that I mentioned. To take a really GREAT picture (not merely a good one), you need full-blown, high wattage sunlight.

So in the summer, the dedicated outdoor photographer has runnels of sweat cascading down her back and pooling in her bra, back cramps from bending over, and mosquito bites. Lots of them.

No matter how much insect repellant you've sprayed on yourself, or how many times you repeat it, some mosquitoes have apparently built up an immunity. These b*tches (the only mosquitoes that bite are female) seem to feel that it's worth biting you anyway, poison-be-damned. I can only hope that their offspring mutates in an undesirable way, but it's more likely that they're building up a tolerance and passing that on to the next generation.

Even worse, any trips in or outside will bring at least one mosquito indoors. They are prolific breeders, and this is the time of year when they're swarming. They swarm more than paparrazzi, and are more annoying than those horrid Las Vegas radio commercials that make you want to turn your engine off and use your keys to gouge your eardrums out. (What, they don't make you want to do that? Then I'm betting that you haven't heard Tanya Roberts' grating and patronizing tones).

This is why it's truly funny to see an article today giving us advice on how to minimize mosquito bites.

One suggestion is to wear light-colored clothing. Puhleeze! We've all tried that. This is supposed to alert you when there is a mosquito landing on you so that you have time enough to swat her. The problem is that the moment that you are out the door, you are set upon by so many mosquitos that you could potentially be carried off, as the little flying monkeys carried Dorothy off to visit with the Wicked Witch of the West.

Another suggestion mentions that we should use repellant that contains DEET. My mosquitoes aren't phased by DEET. They drink it as a shot, followed by a chaser of blood. In fact, I rather suspect they'd be sorely disappointed if I were missing the delightful tang of DEET.

I'll certainly agree that standing water needs to be eliminated, but what do we do when we have moronic neighbors who don't do it? I admit I've been tempted to lob bug bombs over the fence, but it certainly won't help neighborly relations, will it?

What happened to those good old-fashioned mosquito trucks that would silently travel through town in the middle of the night, spraying toxic fumes into the air? Is this just one more example of something that has died out due to political correctness? Were people complaining that it wasn't healthy? I'll tell you what isn't healthy: Mosquitoes. And right now, there are no good solutions to the problem.


Ed Abbey said...

DEET works. The problem is that most commercial makers of bug spray dilute it with citrus and other things to make it smell better. I use my 100% DEET repellant and though I smell horrible and my skin is terribly slimy, no mosquito will come within ten feet of me for the rest of the day. It works pretty good on humans too.

The rule of thumb is that 5% of deet is equivalent to one hour of protection but in my experience, you have to be up over 50% DEET before the bugs really start noticing.

~Deb said...

Hmm, I saw a show that discovered that any of these bug repellants don't work. You literally have to bathe in it before it affects them---and by that time, you've just poisoned yourself.

About the eBay picture stealing---it happens 24/7 on every website who has a nice's just whether or not you can find it lurking out there somewhere. I was selling my photos on eBay for quite some time until I saw some of it being used on blogs! (ha) Ah well. I stopped and figured it was useless trying to sell these puppies.

Hope you're doing good! Just wanted to stop in and say hi.

green said...

Citronella candles (lots of them) work well when you're eating outdoors.

I was once advised by a high school biology teacher that Cutter brand is the best bug spray you can buy, though how well it works is questionable.

Also, one of those electric bug zapper lights for your yard works wonders. And not just for skeeters. The only problem is the constant zapping sound you keep hearing. But it's a reasonable tradeoff. The only variable is the size of your yard. I believe on the box has guidelines for how many square yards the zapper will be effective. Purchasing more than one for a bigger than normal yard is the norm.

daveawayfromhome said...

Any luck with Avon Skin-So-Soft?

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur - the spray trucks are still out there. I see them from time to time here. You have to bitch and complain to the local skeeter control goons for a while before they send the trucks. The formula is not the same and does not work as well, but it also does not kill as many good skeeter eating bugs such as dragonflies. That is the problem with insect chemical warfare, you get everything. And it gets into the water (that you drink) and the birds and so on.

I have some 95% DEET stuff. It works, but it is scary stuff. It melts some kinds of plastic. And you must not get any in your eyes. If you get it on your lips your mouth goes numb. And did I mention that if you have it on your hands and then pick up a plastic cup the cup sticks to your hand and starts to melt?

I bought some "Orange TKO" stuff at a boat show. It is supposed to be distilled orange peel extract. The guy said it is an all purpose cleaner and can even be used to repel skeeters. I tried it out when there was a small swarm around me and it seemed to work.

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gator said...


People always invite me to outdoor parties to serve as bait. I must be a very sweet person.

Excellent post.

Bryan said...

I've been searching for an email someone sent me regarding a home remedy preparation for skeeters but can't find it. Hey, I wonder what the Indians used?

Oh for the days of DDT. 100 things you should know about DDT

Heather said...

B1. 1500 milligrams of B1 a day and no mosquitoes will bite you. My sister used to get eaten alive when we were kids and are doctor gave us the above remedy. The pills come in 500MGs and you take 1 3x a day. It gives off an odor that humans can't smell and mosquitoes hate. We've never had any problems since.

green said...

1500mg of B1 per day? I know B1 is considered a vitamin and all but that amount daily seems like an addiction waiting to happen.

Why so much B1? 500 or 1,000mg doesn't give off enough mosquito-hating scent?

Three Score and Ten or more said...

B1 helps, deet works if it is strong nough to melt plastic and Avon skin so soft has become so popular for skeeters that they are licensing the use of it to official deterent brands. Also, at wal-mart for 4.99 or at your local herb and vitamin shop for about 9.99 you can buy tea tree oil. Slather it on. it works, and it also will cure the itch of a bite you already have (the only thing I know that will take the fight out of a fire-ant bite)and it is a disiinfectant and fungicide (and most people don't like the smell, but I do.)