Saturday, May 20, 2006


This is the season for mosquitoes. Around here, they fly around in large and voracious clouds that are said to be able to drain a person dry in under five minutes. The sound of their trillion wings beating is like a distant Japanese motorcycle race where the really frightening part, rather like the doodlebugs sent by the Germans over London in 1944, is when the sound stops.
The mosquito, male, is a dull kind of fly that sips nectar all day long at some flower with its legs crossed and smoking a cigarette, come to think of it, rather like the rest of us. Only we put gin in ours. It’s the female that causes the trouble.
Which just goes to show, once you wrench the fur off, how similar to each other all of The Earth’s many species are.
The female will land apologetically onto an exposed piece of flesh and inject a portion of saliva into the bite, a tonic that causes a moment’s anaesthesia, followed by a quarter of an hour of itching. She needs your blood to nourish her fertilised eggs. You need the saliva to catch Malaria and Dengis Fever. The mosquito considers the operation a fair trade.
Our mosquitoes are well-fed and voracious. Yet, despite their weight, they can still fly. They may need to take a run at it, wings flapping furiously, their cargo of blood churning and slopping around in their stomachs, but they can usually take off in the space of a few feet. However, there is a second variety which breeds in the giant un-drained swamps of Garrucha and Pueblo Laguna. Here, the insects are so heavy from generations of over-feeding, their wings have atrophied and these creatures have in fact lost the power of flight. They are about the size of a squash ball and are obliged to gallop across the land in the search for any exposed ankle. When fully refreshed, they can be easily, if messily, dispatched.
Our own observation is that neither mosquito pellets nor spray slows them down much, or, at least, we note that they can get in a few bites before they die. Sometimes they do both simultaneously, which can cause embarrassment to both parties. The only alternative to becoming an involuntary intra-species blood donor is to close the window at night (which has the added advantage of closing out the sound of those who don’t have to get up in the morning). The drawback to this is that it’s getting very hot now… very hot… ver…

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