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Confessions of a Killer
by Beth Boswell Jacks

Readers have come to know me, I hope, as a kind, live-and-let-live sort who wouldn’t hurt a soul. They don’t view me as a vicious killer, but that’s a false presumption. I now confess to my murderous ways – the slapping and gassing – and the sneers on my face as I smash my enemy into oblivion.

Readers know my enemy – that blasted, bloodsucking creature we call . . . mosquito.

I agree with writer Alexis Arguello who said, “When you see a mosquito and you’re able to hit it, you’re able to hit it with a couple of short, sharp shots . . . it’s a beautiful thing.”

Okay, fine, so biologists tell us that mosquito larvae provide nourishment for fish. Then I say we should dry the pesky little buggers into flaked fish food. Every last one of them, stuffed in cardboard shakers. That would work for me.

Nope, I don’t buy any justification for the most annoying creature in the universe. Did you know there are thousands of species of mosquitoes all over the world? The Antarctica is the only continent on the globe that doesn’t have a mosquito problem. And, worldwide, we have only been able to control them partially; we can’t fully eradicate them.

And we’re not just talking nuisance. These worthless critters spread terrible diseases like West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (not to forget the illness and death of past plagues like Malaria and Yellow Fever).

They’re little but deadly.

Mark Twain once opined that two mosquitoes “could whip a dog, and four of them could hold a man down; and except help come, they would kill him – butcher him.”

Amen. I tried to pull coco in my flower beds yesterday afternoon, and even in the still relatively hot part of the day they were swarming, literally chasing me back into the house.

I wring their wiry little necks if I can. I've also resorted to using a big, ugly fan at the back door, mosquito foggers and those candles in buckets that guarantee to suffocate any mosquito that dares to approach. Maybe all this works. I couldn’t say because I did find some dead mosquitoes in the dog’s water bowl, but the heartier ones were holding prayer meeting around the rim of the candle bucket. I guess they liked the ambience.

Actually, it’s the female mosquito that does the damage. According to NSW HEALTH, “On average, a female will live 2-3 weeks, but the male’s lifespan is shorter. Within their lifetime both adult male and female will feed on nectar and plant fluids, but it is only the female that will seek a blood meal. Upon locating a suitable host, the female probes the skin for a blood capillary and then injects a small amount of saliva containing chemicals, which prevent the host’s blood from clotting. After engorging on the host’s blood, the female will find a resting place to digest her meal and develop eggs before flying off to deposit them in a suitable aquatic habitat.”

The hussy!

The male is not totally innocent though. He has romanced the female, which sends her buzzing off on her “Dracularian” search.

Here’s what LIVE SCIENCE says about that:

“Scientists have long known that male mosquitoes key in on the buzzing of females to help them find a partner. The research also revealed how the mosquito mating commences. When two mosquitoes approach each other—typically moving along at about 1 mph—each alters the tone of its buzzing, which is created by the wings beating at up to 600 times each second. It is likely that different mosquito species employ different flight tones in order to recognize viable mates.”

So, hey, you hear a mosquito buzzing around your ear at night? Don’t buzz back.

Here’s one last word of advice from funny guy, Jack Handey. "You know what's probably a good thing to hang on your porch in the summertime to keep mosquitoes away?” he says. “Just a big ol’ bag of blood."

And if that doesn’t work, do what I do.

Kill ‘em dead.


For more SNIPPETS stories, read these:
Class Reunion Advice
Searching For The Inner Animal
Dance ~ the Soul's Hidden Language

Editor of USADEEPSOUTH, Beth Boswell Jacks is the author of 3 books (Grit, Guts, and Baseball and Snippets I and II) and is also a weekly columnist for a number of Southern newspapers. Readers and editors may contact her at bethjacks@hotmail.com.
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