The Suitcase Lady


July 27, 2011, 12:08 am

The girls are back. Correction: the mothers-to-be are back. Two days after the Fourth of July, mosquitoes appeared everywhere. The entire outdoors is under siege and our only choices are to stay indoors or spray from head to toe with disgusting chemicals. We have reluctantly chosen Deep Woods Off.

A third choice is possible but not practical. If we don’t exhale or sweat when we are outside, the ladies won’t find us. Carbon dioxide, lactic and fatty acids are their principle people finders.

We may not like our female attackers, but we must recognize their fine maternal instincts. Needing protein to produce healthy yolks for their eggs, they target us, penetrate our skin and spit in the wound. Their saliva prevents blood from coagulating. Then they suck up our blood until their abdomens bulge and turn red.

The moms each lay 80 to 100 eggs in any standing water they can find in a discarded tin can, bird bath, rain-barrel, sand box toys, pond or puddle. In a few days the eggs hatch into the larvae stage known as wigglers. The wigglers wriggle around in the water, stuff themselves and form a pupa. Shortly after, the newly hatched mosquitoes leave the watery life behind.

Mosquitoes, flies and gnats are part of the order Diptera meaning “two-winged insects”. Aristotle named them because the rear wings are only two little vibratory clubs. The Diptera have rapid wingbeats which produce the familiar buzzing sounds.

If  your yard is filled with the buzz of mosquitoes, try putting out the welcome mat for dragonflies, swallows, swifts, brown creepers, nuthatches, toads and bats. All of the above rank mosquitoes as haute cuisine.

1 Comment for this entry

  • Bob and Gwynneth Wallace

    Hi: We met just a year ago at the Santa Fe opera. Since then we have enjoyed your blog very much and its tim e to say so. Thanks a lot. We especially enjoyed the blog on zucchini. Soon after we retired from urban Toronto to where we joined our daugther in rural Nova Scotia, at just this time of year. Our daughter noticed us locking our car door. She said “No-one locks their car here.” “Because of robbery?” we responded. “No” she said, “so no one leaves you another zucchini!”. We told you on meeting that Gwynneth operates a “Grow with Art” programme, artist-led workshops and art rentals for kids, so of course we are interested in your own programme. If you are interested we could send you a resume of it. Nice to be in touch. Bob .