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Eugie · Foster's · Self-Indulgent · Musings


Asian tiger mosquito attack!

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Went out berry picking again yesterday. The last few days, fosteronfilm has been going without me because the mosquitoes don't seem to like him as much, but he also mowed the lawn, and found a couple blackberry bushes we weren't aware of before that were overflowing with ripe berries and wanted my help. He was out for over an hour, mowing and picking. No bites. I was out for five minutes and got half a dozen bites on my arms. (He sent me back inside after I spilled the berry box while slapping away an evil bloodsucker.) I am, apparently, a tasty treat.

After putting ice on the largest welts and having a shower, I looked up my bitey nemesis, as they were stripey and scary-looking. We have Asian tiger mosquitoes, a particularly aggressive species that bite during the day, rather than the more usual dusk and nighttime biters. Lucky us. They're not strong fliers, staying within 100 yards of their birthing spot, and I know where they're spawning--in the fetid koi pond the previous owner installed. I want to tear out that larvae-infested morass and fill it in. I liked having the turtle winter there, and I'm fond of the toads that occasionally go *plop* into it when we get too near, but the mosquitoes are horrible. I wish there was a way we could encourage dragonflies, which would eat the damn mosquitoes, but I haven't seen any. I suspect the water is too stagnant for them. We've periodically emptied it, but as soon as it rains, it fills in again. Gah.

Until we get the thing excavated and filled, I'm putting some vegetable oil in the pond. Supposedly it will suffocate the mosquito larvae. And next year, we're investing in some Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. No point in doing it this year. Berry season is only for a few more weeks, at which point I can't imagine me needing to go near that pond again this year. Might even install that bat house I've longed for. I want more natural mosquito predators.

We hatesss mosquitoessss. *itch*
I'm feeling:
uncomfortable uncomfortable
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On July 9th, 2005 02:09 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
My skin's very sensitive, so I use fragrance-free skin care products. Matthew and I use the same shampoo+conditioner, so if that's it, he should be getting the same evil bitey bloodsucker attention I am.

"including that of women who eat bananas"

Really?? I have been treating myself to frozen bananas as snacks. Could that possibly be it? Freaky.
On July 9th, 2005 02:23 pm (UTC), lousy_timing replied:
Just read an article last week...
about a study showing that mosquitoes are, indeed, more attracted to women and children than to men. Apprently, men are more difficult to bite because they have more hair and slightly thicker skin.

I heard an old wive's tale not long after finding out I was diabetic that the beasts could also smell elevated blood sugar, but I've never found any data to show if that is true or not.

Sorry 'out your itchy-owies!
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On July 9th, 2005 02:31 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Re: Just read an article last week...
Ugh. Figures. What I probably need is a hazmat suit to go berry picking in.

Thanks for the sympathy, sweetie!
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On July 9th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
veggie oil no work - try "mosquito dunk" available at nurserys and home depots - save for animals, kills mosquito larvae

http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/service/hd/westnile/wnvlarvicide.htm
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On July 9th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC), britzkrieg commented:
And next year, we're investing in some Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. No point in doing it this year.

Is that what's in "mosquito dunks"?
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On July 9th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Yep, that's the stuff. Have you used it?
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On July 9th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC), britzkrieg replied:
Jaime has used them in our birdbaths. They seem to work. They're definitely safe for wildlife -- which was our major concern.
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On July 9th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Where do you get them at?
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On July 9th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC), britzkrieg replied:
Jaime says they're all over the place: Home Depot, Pike Nursery... Lowe's probably has them, too.
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On July 9th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
I might have to make a trip out to Home Depot today. Wonder if they carry jam-making supplies . . .
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On July 9th, 2005 06:06 pm (UTC), scyllacat commented:
Ponds are so sad to lose. We have a good water gardening store here. I will check and see if they have advice on restoring your pond to good health. Yes?
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On July 9th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
It's not a natural pond, just one of those plastic inserts that the previous owner installed in a misguided attempt at landscaping. Calling it a "pond" glorifies it beyond the reality, I fear. To be accurate, it's a plastic cesspit full of stagnant rainwater and mosquito larvae.
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On July 9th, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC), palmerwriter commented:
"Asian Tiger Mosquito Attack" sounds like some power move an anime character would shout before his metal fist detaches and flies toward his enemy or something.

That would be cool.
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On July 10th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
That would be way cool. Much cooler than bitey bloodsucking insects plaguing our backyard!
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On July 9th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC), whitecrow0 commented:
::nod:: Scott can work in the yard for hours and not get a bite; I walk to the car and get one or two.
I read something somewhere (dontcha just love vague references so you can't fact-check?) that mosquitoes are also more attracted to the color blue.
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On July 10th, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Actually, that blue thing sounds familiar. I suspect I've heard that before. Don't know if it's true, but it's ringing bells. Wonder if there's a color that they particularly don't like. I'd wear neon green if it would deter them from nipping me.
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On July 13th, 2005 04:05 am (UTC), whitecrow0 replied:
Hey, lookee what I found! (Here.)
"Mosquitoes, like other insects, see in the blue, ultraviolet spectrum. So they’re attracted to blue lights and clothing, but not to reds and yellows."
::beams proudly::
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On July 13th, 2005 04:23 am (UTC), eugie replied:
You get big snaps for your researching! That's an excellent article.

"mosquitoes also are attracted by heat and aromas . . . some people are more attractive to the insects. They may . . . have a slightly higher body temperature."

Ugh. I tend to naturally have a body temperature slightly hotter than average. Lucky me, another attractive trait to lure in the blood suckers.

I think I'll try dressing in flamey colors the next time I go berry picking.
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On July 13th, 2005 04:36 am (UTC), whitecrow0 replied:
Thank you!
I have a lower body temperature but they still love me best. :P

I think I'll try dressing in flamey colors the next time I go berry picking.
And hold your breath!
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On July 10th, 2005 01:40 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Mosquitoes bad. The wife of a guy I was on a project with caught the bad version of West Nile. She survived, but it involved much pain and hospitalization. Yes, odds are low and Asian tiger mosquitoes probably aren't carriers of it, but I prefer a general "death to mosquitoes" program nonetheless. *nod*
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On July 10th, 2005 03:23 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Death! Death to mosquitoes!! Rah.
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On July 11th, 2005 12:24 pm (UTC), keesa_renee commented:
Oh, poor Eugie! That's awful. I've gotten my share of itchies over the past few weeks; mosquitoes, no-see-ems, chiggers, and fleas (fleas?), to name a few. (Mamma says that the bites that are giving me the worst problems all over my feet and ankles are flea bites, probably picked up from an infested patch of grass. Needless to say, I've been de-loused, in the event that I carried any of the little offenders with me, but it didn't get rid of the bites, which are agonizingly itchy.)

I feel your pain!
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