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Once bitten, twice shy: Finding the positive in mosquitos

English: Colour print of the yellow fever or d...

English: Colour print of the yellow fever or dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti (then called Stegomyia fasciata, today also Stegomyia aegypti). To the left, the male, in the middle and on the right, the female. Above left, a flying pair in copula. Deutsch: Farbdruck der Gelbfieber- oder Denguemücke Aedes aegypti (damals Stegomyia fasciata, heute auch Stegomyia aegypti). Links das Männchen, rechts davon Weibchen. Links oben ein fliegendes Pärchen in copula. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flies bum me out. Check that, mosquitos bum me out. Since this is the last week of summer unofficially, the one just before Labor Day weekend, it’s time for mosquitos to do their thing one last series of times before beginning their die off in anticipation of the first frost.

The first frost can’t come soon enough for me since we’ve had so much rain lately. That’s what been making flies come out so bad again. I knew it was especially dreadful today. After I clipped the lawn in between rain storms, specifically pop up storms, the mosquitos were out again in force, so bad I might add, I had to wear pants while I barbecued.

Flies (or at least one of them), are buzzing around my head right now as I type. They make me think of how messed up the term “pop up” storm is, too. The words “pop” and “up” remind me of when someone’s computer is infected with malware. You get all these pop ups warning you that your computer is infected (it really is) and you have to click here and there and here and there in order to download a program that will clean your computer.

Well, I think clicking on pop ups in infected computers is like trying to swat away mosquitos that are biting the living crap out of you. You smack, smack, smack and all that happens is it makes the welts on your skin come up that much quicker and worse.

So far we’ve covered the words pop and up in this storm, I mean blog. I’m still swatting away a pesky skeeter that followed me inside after grilling. In a tribute to Facebook posters everywhere (who feel it imperative to post what they had for dinner), I had some hamburgers that my wife called sausage burgers because she formed them in the shape of a sausage since we had pretzel hot dog buns. Maybe they were bratwurst bums, I mean, buns. No matter. The point is, the burgers were great, along with the grilled asparagus of course (and I want everyone to know).

Grilling is part of summer and if it weren’t for the flies and mosquitos (why do people argue whether they’re called flies or mosquitos, anyway?) I’d feel compelled to grill out each and every night this week. Flies, according to some people don’t bite. But mosquitos do. Where I come from mosquitos, horse flies, gnats and flies are just, well, all flies.

Flies are things that fly that I wish wouldn’t. If they were only found on the ground I’d have no problem with them. You could just walk over them, crush them, like the New York Mets, end of story, no more fly trouble. I wouldn’t even mind if they survived winters, too, and were just the kinds of creatures that were always around. One can deal with pests much easier if they don’t fly and you can crush them (like flies on the ground).

Flying was typically at the top of the list when we were kids and initiated profound conversations like, “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” Well, most everyone wanted to be able to fly. I never thought flying was a particularly good superpower. Granted, Superman could fly whereas most of the other superheroes were ground-based, like flies should be. Of course my favorite superhero, the Incredible Hulk, used to hop around great distances with his super strength, making it seem like he could fly, but he was really only hopping.

Culex mosquitos (Culex quinquefasciatus shown)...

Culex mosquitos (Culex quinquefasciatus shown) are biological vectors that transmit West Nile Virus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t like Superman as much as the Hulk because he was always flying from here to there and back. Flying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are collisions a superhero must be wary of while flying. Today I’m wondering if being bit by mosquitos was ever a problem for Superman. I never heard that it was, but maybe since he was the man of steel, the flies, I mean, mosquitos couldn’t penetrate his skin. So, maybe they didn’t bother him.

No matter what one covers up, if you’re sweet meat, the flies will find some open skin. And I don’t believe anyone that says flies have small brains. I think flies are very smart because they always find sweet meat. They’ll even find it on the top of your head if you don’t wear a hat. They’ll find it on your ears if you don’t continually bob and weave or flail your arms around and over your head like Filthy McSpastic.

So, as the last week of summer (unofficially) gets underway, I’ve left you with plenty to think about. Sure, we didn’t get into using bug repellent or whatever in order to detract skeeters. But it did get me to thinking that since flies aren’t creatures that are restricted to solely being on the ground (where we could easily deal with them), what are our alternatives? What’s the best approach? How we can turn the seemingly big negative that are flies into something positive?

I’m going to close by making a plea to science. I would love to see the effects of fly bites be reversed from what they are now. Mosquito bites initially feel prickly. We know we are being fed upon and end up swatting at them almost always too late. Subsequently where we are bitten welts up and is quite itchy. A friend once told me he got bit repeatedly in the back of his knee and before he was able to realize it, he could not bend his knee. He recovered but no longer wears shorts in the summer.

Why doesn’t science figure out a way to make mosquito bites a good thing? That is, in the worst cases, instead of getting nasty, life threatening illnesses such as West Nile and Malaria, somehow we are able to get healthier from mosquito bites.

Think about it. Why isn’t it possible for a mosquito bite to be of assistance in fighting a plague or disease? Surely there is something beneficial transmitted when mosquitos feed on us. Science is capable of making this important discovery but only when it starts thinking outside the bite.

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