Sweaty, stinging days of summer are here

Published 1:04 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…”

The lyrics of the Nat King Cole song are playing in my head as I step out into the warm morning. There is not a leaf moving to stir the humid air.

“Yep, it’s summer,” I say to the group of cats at my feet.

Official or unofficial, Memorial Day surely kicked off the season of sweating while you are standing still doing nothing. Not, I must admit, my favorite time of year.

As I gathered food bowls and fed my crew of hungry animals, that song kept singing in my brain.

““Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Those days of soda and pretzels and beer…”

For me, it’s not so much soda and pretzels and beer that herald the arrival of summer. It is more like horseflies and mosquitoes and gnats.

Some howthat just doesn’t sound the same when you sing it.

“Roll out those scratchy, itchy, stingy days of summer. Those days of horseflies and mosquitoes and gnats…”

See what I mean. Those lyrics don’t feel like they are announcing the arrival of a great time do they.

Oh and I left out fire ants. How could I forget those sweet little buggers?

So the second verse goes like this…

“Roll out those scratchy, itchy, stingy days of summer. Those days of no-see-ems and fire ants and wasps…”

Yep, it seems to be that bugs of every kind find me this time of year. I tell my husband insects love me because I am soooo sweet. He never comments when I say that. He is a wise man.

Turns out sweetness might not be the reason bugs like a person. Seems there are certain things that scream come-and-get-it to mosquitoes.

First, sweat apparently does for mosquitoes what the smell of chocolate does to humans. Folks who exercise, or in South Alabama simple walk around during the summer, produce more sweat. Apparently, the sweatier and smellier people become, the more the mosquitoes love them.

OK, I’ll admit it, I do sweat (I prefer the word perspire — sounds more feminine). No, my perspiration does not smell like sweet drops of early morning dew on a newly opened rose. The fragrance is more like my dog after a dip in the lake and a roll in the mud.

Oh and the older the sweat, the more attractive you are to these critters. (Mosquitoes particularly love old sweat). So after a couple of hours of cleaning house and working in the yard, I am the day’s special at the bug buffet.

Another thing that appeals to mosquitoes is certain blood types. The most popular type is O, followed by B and then A. In fact, type O’s are twice as likely to be swarmed as type A’s. Ding, ding, ding, I win again with my blood type. That’s right; I’m an O, as in “O” NO not more mosquito bites.

I did wonder how they figure out a person’s blood type. Seems 85 percent of people emit a chemical through their skin that announces their blood type to mosquitoes. So, I guess my skin is screaming, “Here I am you blood-suckers.”

Breathing is another call to come nibble. Mosquitoes enjoy carbon dioxide. So if you breathe heavier, you invite more bites. Note to self — don’t practice deep yogic breathing while sitting on your porch.

Oh beer drinkers, researchers say you breathe heavier when under the influence. So don’t be surprised if you wake up itching after a beer-induced nap in the hammock. (I wonder if wine causes deeper breathing).

To sum up. It is summer. It’s hot and humid. There are bugs, mostly mosquitoes, in search of sweaty, stinky, beer drinkers with Type O blood.

So, everyone grab the insect repellent and sing along.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

“Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer…

“You’ll wish that summer could always be here.”


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.