I’m going a little nuts cooped up in the house, but as long as Florida Man is under control we have nothing to worry about, do we? Au contraire mon ami! Florida Man has all the time in the world to get into trouble and keep our state in the public eye. Aside from Florida Man what irks us? Our tropical climate for one, which allows all types of animals, bugs and assorted species to enjoy the climate as they slither, swim and fly here to join our outdoor pursuits.

From giant African land snails to Brazilian pepper trees, to your cousins from Cleveland, invasive species cost Florida half a billion dollars a year to control. It doesn’t always work, especially when they insist you take them to South Beach to photograph the last remaining public parking space. Am I saying your relatives are an invasive species? Not by definition. They leave after a few weeks. Why not take them to the Everglades where we host other invasive species and let them sort it out.

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Our giant snails eat 500 varieties of plants and contain both male and female reproductive organs. That fact alone will ensure Pat Robertson blames them for the next natural disaster. Among the worst of these species are the Burmese Pythons who, set free to grow and consume, started out as small harmless pet snakes for those who felt hamsters were just too wimpy. They can grow to be 40 feet and weigh 400 pounds, or the equivalent of an average Chinese national gymnastics team. As your pet python grew in your rec room to the size of a mature ‘Audrey’ from Little Shop of Horrors, you figured you better do something before your kids miss little ‘Fluffy’. The time had come to unleash it west of I-75 and spawn another episode of Swamp Wars.

But wait, there’s more! The Northern Snakehead fish is plying our waters. Just like your sushi loving neighbor, this voracious predator has no natural enemies and a 90% fish diet.

If only we could modify the habits of these creatures, so they don’t continue to multiply and throw shade on our happy little lives. Get me some scientists that will go beyond the norms and create a way to fix our mosquito population. Killing them one at a time doesn’t make sense but some scientists believe they’ve engineered a solution that will rid us of those pesky flying critters. They’ll attempt to genetically alter them so they can’t multiply.

Jurassic Park will be a reality in the Florida Keys because hundreds of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes will be released there in the next 2 years. The mosquito in question, named OX5034, because calling it by its birth name would be too difficult, will be altered to produce female offspring that die in the larval stage prior to reaching the reproductive stage. Scientists are sure this method is easier than making them stay away from the young males who would like nothing more than to voraciously mate.

How do you genetically modify a mosquito? Do you need very tiny medical devices and a good pair of eyes? Here’s what a fly on the wall heard at the first meeting of scientists to discuss how to accomplish the feat.

Head scientist: “Folks, we have a unique situation here that requires a new way to genetically modify mosquitos. Alright quit laughing, we’ve got a job to do. First, we’ve got to catch a bunch of them, anesthetize them and operate.”

Scientist two: “Do we go outside with butterfly nets?”

Head scientist: “No, the mosquitos would see we’re after them and fly away. Don’t bother scrubbing up, they’re mosquitos, they like filth. Just don’t squeeze them. Flattened, it would make for a more time-consuming operation. We need to appeal to their instincts, so catching them for testing shouldn’t be a problem. What do mosquitos love? They love blood, so some of you will go outside with short sleeves and have a ‘catcher’ who will grab the skeeters hopefully before they draw blood”

Scientist three: “Who gets to decide which of us is the victim and which is the ‘grabber’?”

Scientist two: “We should give the ‘victim’ job to Florida Man, he’s not busy this week.”

 

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