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Welcome to Amanda’s Blog

Feeding

Only thirty percent chance of rain today, and we are getting all thirty percent. Although I can’t remember ever having a summer this wet, I’m not going to complain as it beats a drought. But the mosquito situation is severe.

Several nights I’ve had a mosquito in the bedroom and that leads to two scenarios. Sometimes it buzzes past my ear as it aims for my check; once in a while I actually manage to swat it (and myself). More often it bites my hand that is sticking out from under the pillow.

Our hands are computer chips of receptor cells for information and they all light up from a mosquito bite, especially at night when there is nothing to distract your mind other than singing the alphabet backwards. The worst thing is that you know the blood-sucker in still in the room with you, just doing a little digestion before coming back for another meal.

That means I have to move to another bed, shutting the door to the abandoned room. Last week I moved to Lill’s room only to have a mosquito find me in there the next night. I keep a can of flying insect killer on the bedside table but it has no soporific pheromones to lull one back to sleep.

It used to be that mosquitoes were most active in the morning and at dusk. In the 1980s the tiger mosquito arrived in – you won’t believe this -- tires shipped from Asia. In a marvel of adaptation, this insect needs only ¼ inch of water to successfully breed; going from egg to larvae to adult in only five days. As they are day time feeders, hiding in foliage when darkness comes, even if your community has nighttime spray programs,these invasive pests are often not controlled.

In our yard which I’ve planted with masses of foliage that provide protection and resting sites, and in a neighborhood with abandoned structures with myriad spots for water collection, we are overrun with day time and night time species of these disease carrying insects. No one goes outside these days without spraying all over with 40% DEET, a higher percentage than should be used on children. We call it Eau de Deet; our favorite summer-time fragrance.

After a day or evening in the garden and a refreshing shower, I just can’t stand to reapply that oily repellent before going on the porch for a conversation and cocktails, and thanks to the needs of hunters, there’s a product that lets us enjoy the outdoors without slathering chemicals on our skin.

Stay tuned to hear about better living through chemistry. Your life may change.

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