Mosquito work can be big business. Trucks are set up exclusively for mosquito spraying and whole routes are built on eradicating this insect vampire of blood. City, state and federal monies are set aside for mosquito control budgets even when coffers are at their lowest and other seemingly more worthy programs are cut. Mankind has always been plagued by mosquitos and we did not always have the upper hand. Untold numbers of pets, wildlife and human beings have been killed over the years by a tiny enemy that is unable to fly against even a stiff breeze but can carry a lethal weapon of disease.
With time and the development of better pesticides and personal repellants the deadly aspect of this insect is hardly a concern for us in the United States.It seems that control of this potentially deadly insect is no more of a cloudy endeavor as science has made great strides. Still with people traveling the world and the sheer numbers of mosquito’s, the threat is always present. Malaria is very rare here now but at one time it took its toll on American lives. Spread by just a few species of mosquito, we must be ever watchful.
Anopheles freeborni is found in the western United States. It was one of the principal mosquito species transmitting malaria (“vector”) in the United States before the disease was eradicated in 1951.
Encephalitis which is basically a swelling of the brain can come from a mosquito’s bite has still yet to be eradicated but it is less prevelant now than it has been. Although these results are partially due to better sanitation efforts and better medical care; pesticides are the main reason we enjoy a superior quality of life in this area.
The numbers of mosquito’s is the U.S. hasn’t seemed to change much and there are still days when a picnic or evening stroll are impossible because of the swarms that attack. More than average rainy seasons can trigger tens of thousands of new mosquitos from a single discarded car tire that has standing water in it. Millions upon millions from a small lake or pond and the numbers are probably impossible to determine from across the country.
Many people who are cautious of using chemicals or believe in natural control will use bat houses to help keep populations in check. Odd that bat’s are usually associated with vampires and scary movies but can be so beneficial by killing the true blood suckers in nature. Sanitation is also used in that the old tire get’s its water dumped whenever they notice the life giving stagnant water build up. Rather than applying time tested chemicals like DEET directly on the skin the wary citizens use Skin so soft lotion or Listerine. All sorts of old home remedies are employed in the name of staying true to an organic lifestyle. While there is always an anecdotal or perceived case of success, for the most part these old recipes do very little.
One way which can be one hundred percent effective has actually been in use for thousands of years. Ancient royalty from Egypt all the way to this day have used netting to guard themselves against the dreaded pest. Nets have been fastened to clothing, hats, bedding, carriages, tents, furniture, windows, and boats, hunting blinds, baby strollers, doorways and even animals. This list is only limited by someone’s imagination and the need to protect yourself during a certain activity or event.
Mosquito’s are not in the top 10 of flight skills and they aren’t capable of scurrying effectively across a given surface like a roach. They rely on a quiet soft approach in hopes that the potential host does not detect them so she can get her meal. They are very persistent however and they will buzz all around your protective netting looking for a way in once they’ve honed in on you.
Netting does not have to be tight or professionally installed to be effective. As long as it completely surrounds the area you are trying to protect it should be efficient enough to keep them out. If there is a hole in the net or an opening somewhere the chances are that one or two will eventually find their way in.
Even with the continued advancement of sprays, lotions and preventative sanitation I suspect we will never be without the mosquito. One way that has at least given us 100% control even if it is in limited areas is the mosquito net.