Only fear female mosquitoes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2012

It is around 11 p.m. You are in bed. The light is off. Finally, after changing positions a few times and plumping your pillow just right, you are ready to drop off to sleep.

Then it happens.

You hate that sound, that irritating, singsong humming right beside your ear.

You strike out in the dark, swatting madly.

Now, having lost all drowsiness, your head clears and you realize the futility of your actions.

You snap on the light and set out on your quest.

There is a mosquito in your room and you are out for the kill. Where is that hateful, annoying insect? It disappears somewhere. You crawl back in bed. Just about time you doze off, you hear it again.

My cousin Charlie retired last year from a Florida mosquito control lab. Several years ago, I saw Charlie at work in that lab on the Discovery Channel.

It is doubtful that I would have spent an hour watching a documentary on mosquitoes if I had not expected to see Charlie, but it was worth watching.

Did you know that there are 3,000 species of mosquitoes and that we have 150 of those species right here in the United States?

I am sure you know that the female mosquito is a carrier of several diseases. (Male mosquitoes do not bite.)

What are we to do about mosquitoes? Man has been waging a war with them for a long time and we are still engaged in that war. It is never-ending. Charlie was just one of those numerous mosquito-fighting warriors, working on mosquito research.

That program really made me think.

I cringed as I watched how the female pierced human skin and extracted the blood.

I shuddered as I saw a raft of 100 or more eggs that a single mosquito had just laid under the surface of water.

While the research goes on, there are others that have developed their own methods to repel or kill the pesky mosquito.

According to a news release on the Internet, an engineer entrepreneur got tired of swatting and started inventing.

His product attracts female mosquitoes by expelling a warm vapor and siphons them into a bag, killing them. It uses a propane gas tank with a device that creates a catalytic reaction without flames.

I don’t know how things have gone with this invention. I haven’t noticed a model advertised for use in our back yards as the years passed by.

A simpler development with claims that the product would be “repellent and fearful” to mosquitoes was pending by a Taiwan company then. The company’s offering was a light bulb that will repel under the range of the light. If it is around, I haven’t seen it advertised. I’m still swatting mosquitoes now and then.

That Discovery program made me really appreciate what Charlie and his associates and entrepreneurs were trying to do to protect us from mosquitoes.