She’ll honor mosquitoes … ’til they bite

Published 1:03 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ah, it is summertime in South Alabama — hot muggy days, long sultry nights, the sweet taste of a cold drink, and the aggravation of mosquitoes.

If you are not familiar with mosquitoes, (and that is pretty much impossible unless you just landed here from some alternate galaxy where they do not exist,) let me tell you a bit about how they operate.

Carbon dioxide, which we give off when we breathe, and chemicals given off by our skin, attract mosquitoes. Certain fragrances and even colors draw them to humans. Of course, their purpose is to get a meal from us in the form of biting and sucking.

I’ve decided I must emit a lot of carbon dioxide and smell like mosquito heaven. In fact, in mosquito world, I’m probably the equivalent of fillet mignon because I am a magnet for these little buggers.

The minute I step outside, they find me. Sometimes it isn’t necessary to go out because they come inside in search of the delicacy that is me. I spray myself with stinky bug repellent and still they come.

Yesterday as I sat swatting in all directions a thought came to me. Well it was more a question.

“What is the purpose of the mosquito?”

I mean all things are here for a reason and that must be true of this annoying bug too. Since I want to deepen my appreciation of each and every wonder of creation, I decide to seek out the reason we have mosquitoes.

Well, I found there is not much appreciation of mosquitoes out there. Mostly people want to figure out how to eliminate them. However, I did learn that they serve a purpose in the great circle of life other than carrying nasty diseases that infect human and animal alike.

First and probably foremost, mosquitoes, especially their larvae are nutrient-packed snacks for fish and other aquatic creatures. Bats, birds, dragonflies and even bees also feed on them.

So, that’s one reason to keep mosquitoes around.

And those squiggly baby mosquitoes we find in the water also are there for a reason. It seems mosquitoes eat and filter or strain particles of bacteria, fungi and algae from water thus making water systems safer. If mosquitoes suddenly disappeared from our world, it would have a measurable impact on the environment.

OK, I’ll agree we, on some level, need mosquitoes as much as we need cute kittens. Well, maybe not that much, but we do need them as part of our world.

So, from now on I’ll honor the place of the mosquito in the grand scheme of life on earth. I will do my best to appreciate its existence on at least some small level.

In addition, I’ll even do the recommended stuff, like wearing unscented products and dressing in light colored clothing, which is supposed to make me less attractive as far as mosquitoes go.

However, I am not yet at the enlightened place of some Buddhists who respect life so deeply they will not kill even a biting bug. Nope, I’m going to appreciate their role and honor their existence, but if a mosquito bites me and I can slap that fellow into the mosquito afterlife, that’s what I’m going to do.

Then I am going to enjoy a nice long, sip of something cold while I contemplate the meaning of it all.