We in Florida don’t enjoy the changing of the seasons that our neighbors to the north do. Our seasons are hot and hotter, wet and wetter. I know that mosquitos have no season, they buzz around us throughout the year and do not consult a calendar. My own personal investigation shows me that they’re much worse than we thought by becoming more ‘hardy’ and resistant to every solution but the rolled-up newspaper, and those are becoming hard to find. You can’t swat a flying insect with a cell phone. Well you can, but it makes for a messy phone especially if the bug is engorged on your blood.

And even then, unless it’s a ‘good whack’, all that will happen is they’ll brush themselves off, make an unheard call to their fellow parasites and plan the next confrontation. How does their sense of impending doom via a newspaper ignite the fight or flight syndrome? We don’t know how those mechanisms work. Do they ‘feel’ the weight of air of the newspaper roll, or the swift hand sending death their way?

How did I come to the conclusion that these pests are getting better at biting us? Well, I realize that our over-use of anti-biotics have lowered their efficiency over the years and so does the over-use of insect repellants. I had lit the business end of a Pic brand mosquito repellent which I hoped would keep errant flyers away. I hoped that Pyrethrin, the active ingredient, which is about a half of one per-cent of the total, would give them all the vitamins and minerals that they normally get when they suck our blood. The remaining ingredients being a mix of natural and artificial components do not harm mosquitos. This was not the case however, because I noticed that when they gathered around the smoky effluvium, they seemed to get stronger and started flying in a circle like a war dance. I thought I saw some of them carrying small signs which said, PETA has our back. They looked angry. I didn’t know they had backs.

What is the defense for a mosquito attack? Any natural scents that are appealing to humans actually repel mosquitoes, including the smell of baking bread. To make that work, get a job in a bakery or hang fresh rolls from your shoulders. People do stranger things so don’t worry if you’re stared at, at least there will be no mosquitos.

Lavender, peppermint, basil, and eucalyptus are aromas that work to repel the critters, but you’ll smell as if you spent the day in a salad bowl. How do mosquitoes find a host? Mosquitoes use many methods to locate us. Their tracking systems are almost as good as Google Earth. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide humans and other animals emit, so the question is, ‘If I don’t breathe, will they find me?’. No they won’t, but now you have a bigger problem.

How far away can a mosquito smell you? Can a mosquito smell fear?

First, a mosquito will sense exhaled carbon dioxide from a distance that can be more than 30 feet. I didn’t realize they had a nose because it’s hard to get them to look at you while you’re trying to flick them off your finger. After the carbon dioxide, then it begins to sense human odor. The mosquito follows this odor and, when it gets very close, starts to detect body heat. It then texts others for the rodeo around you.

If they’re indoors, mosquitoes can live for quite a long time. Their lifespan in the house ranges anywhere from four days to a month. After female mosquitoes are done biting, they will live up to three weeks in your home, rent free.

There’s some good news and some bad news. They will die when the temperature goes below 50 degrees. It doesn’t go below 50 degrees. Let’s head north!



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Buzz Fleischman is a Humorist and singer/songwriter of ‘irregular songs for regular people’ and a character actor who has appeared in and voiced TV commercials and radio. He currently hosts and produces the Joltradio.org interview show “On the Record and Off the Wall’. http://www.joltradio.org/artist/on-the-record-and-off-the-wall-with-buzz-fleischman Buzz was the humorist on the NPR affiliate WLRN for 12 years and has been a featured speaker for significant local and national conferences, conventions and organizations. He is a docent at the Curtiss Mansion and is fascinated by the history of Miami Springs and its interesting residents. http://www.theradiobuzz.com


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