The Coast News Group
Protecting against mosquitoes has required more help from the public in recent years due to invasive Aedes mosquitoes that can potentially transmit diseases not naturally found here, including Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
Aedes aegypti mosquito. Stock photo
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Mosquito magnet once again

Oh, goodie. More insect issues. There are two new breeds of mosquito in town and they have a nasty disposition.

I haven’t had more than one mosquito bite in the past 15 years. Put that in the context that all my life I have been every mosquito’s favorite snack and have been munched on in multiple countries.

Then I went through menopause, and even when I could hear them buzzing around my bedroom, no bites.

I figured that had to be the one upside to that whole tiresome syndrome. Maybe whatever causes hot flashes made me taste bad and I was thrilled.

Fast forward to last week. I have been walking the Batiquitos Lagoon trail with my friend for a year now, with no insect interaction.

By mid-walk last week, I could feel multiple itchy spots blooming, several right through my clothes. I came home with nine big, miserable welts and went straight for the cortisone lotion.

I shortly learned that I can thank the Aedes aegypti yellow fever mosquito and/or Aedes albopictus tiger mosquito.

According to the Center for Invasive Species Research, they sailed in from Asia on a load of used tires and swiftly made themselves at home.

They reportedly bite aggressively all day long (not just at dusk) and happily lay their eggs in any small container of water, easily breeding in backyards and even inside homes. In warmer months, these mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in less than one week.

A tiny bit of good news is that since they are hatching where there is no yellow fever, zika or dengue fever, they can, but don’t, carry any disease.

Well, dang. So far, I have only been bitten once in my own backyard and have been on a raging crusade to find the slightest hint of standing water. Then it’s a trip to the store for some serious repellent that I can drench myself in.

I walked the lagoon again yesterday, after stealing my daughter’s repellent and spraying every square inch of myself, including over my clothes. I missed a pea-sized spot on my ankle and, by George, one bit me.

The rest of me came out unscathed, so there is hope.

I’m hoping the vector control folks will spray here soon. My motto remains, “The only good mosquito is a dead mosquito.”

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who seems to still smell delicious. Contact her at [email protected].