Friday, June 12, 2020

Mosquito Massacre

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" You've tried swatting them, you've tried screening them out, you've cursed and reviled them. I'm talking about the state bird of so many states -- the mosquito.

Who hasn't had a lovely summer evening ruined by these pesky pests?

I went hiking in a salt marsh once and got swarmed. But I was prepared with long sleeves, one of those screen hats, and long pants stuffed into boots. Still it was unnerving.

And now these little winged brutes carry Zika virus. It's really dangerous for pregnant women.

The other day I heard a motorized din. I looked across the street and saw a pest control service spraying the shrubs and lawn of one of those despicable McMansions. The sign on the truck said MOSQUITO/TICK PROTECTION.

This morning at 9:00 the same din sounded again, this time next door: MOSQUITO/TICK PROTECTION. I looked out the window, and there was a guy with no face mask, just showering the shrubs and house with pesticide.

I might have expected this from the pampered one percenters across the street, but I was pretty shocked to see my next-door neighbors, who have always shared my laissez-faire attitude about plant life, doing the same.

Readers, there is such a dearth of insect life in my yard now that I am beyond alarmed. My lawn is all-over speckled with clover flowers. Not a single bee. I have native wildflowers in full bloom in my micro-meadow. Not a single pollinator. No grasshoppers. No beetles. No June bugs and moths beating against the porch light when I sit outside. No little white butterflies.

No mosquitoes.

Are there any benefits to mosquitoes and ticks? Only if you care about the food chain.

Putting aside their gastronomic choices, bats eat mosquitoes. The fewer mosquitoes, the fewer bats. Possums eat ticks. I know, I know, we could all do without possums. Or could we?

Many serious media outlets have written stern warnings about the catastrophic decline in the number of insects on our planet. This is a huge problem, my friends.

In my childhood long, long ago, the world teemed with bugs. I'm not just talking about the wilds of the mountains. I'm talking about ordinary suburban blocks like the one I live on. I can remember a time, even here in Haterfield, when a lawn full of clover had a pleasant number of bees on it.

Want to bet on the End Times? Encourage all your neighbors to get professional pest control companies to come and spray for mosquitoes. The shrubs in my neighbor's yard are now "protected" from mosquitoes, but they are also "protected" from every other kind of winged thing. I wouldn't trust the wild birds around that stuff. I wouldn't want Gamma Cat rubbing against it. And even though the guy spraying it wasn't masked, I don't want to sit outside with that poison so close to me.

A world without bugs is unsustainable. Our whole ecosystem will crash. Yes, the crawly blood-suckers are annoying and dangerous to the health ... but killing them off will be worse.

Please let me know if you still have an abundance of insects where you live. I am so very alarmed by the lack of them in my world. It's mid-June and I haven't even seen a firefly.

Gods ... I'm going to leave standing water on my property. Bats gotta eat.


yellowdoggranny said...

we have the bug dude come here to apts once a month..usually are spraying for piss ants.remember those? our apts are built on a nest of them...over the years they are pretty much dead and gone..we still have june bugs, an occasional stink bug, and various little black bugs..but we have a lot of birds and they go after around sept if we had a very wet summer and then it gets really dry we get swarms and I do mean swarms of crickets.piled up 3 feet deep around light poles..and when they die? omg the stench..killed my cat tower..they'd get in the something out of a horror movie..eek.

Bathwater said...

This is one thing I noticed when I was in China flying insects were nonexistent. They had no screens in any of there windows and I found that really weird.

anne marie in philly said...

honey bees, fireflies have just about disappeared. I know the cicadas will be back in another month. I've seen only 1 stink bug this spring. no praying mantis.

motheralice said...

That last line is one of the reasons I love you!!

I’m in the ‘burbs in SW Ohio and we’re doing ok bug-wise but there are definitely fewer than I remember from my childhood. We’ve just begun seeing a few lightning bugs in the last couple days, fewer mosquitos than usual, there are crickets and beetles and whatnots. Not a ton of honeybees, but a few, and more wasps, bumblebees, and carpenter bees (the Redbud Tree positively HUMS in bloom!). We had big ants in the house checking things out briefly, but made them unwelcome with borax and sugar and swear words. My compact with the critters is generally that if I can I’ll put em outside (especially spiders) if I see them upstairs. In the basement, they mostly go unseen and therefore undisturbed. The local wildlife seems to be ok mainly, I think.
Don’t let’em grind you down dear.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

My Rare One's apple tree had hardly any blossoms on it this year because of lack of bees.

e said...

Here in the PNW we've still got bugs. Not as many honey bees, to be sure, but I'm seeing other insect life. I have a lush patch of clover that I leave intentionally because the bees love it. Actually, several of my neighbors are quite conscious of insect life and most of leave the early 'weeds' that the pollinators need at the start of the season. Still, it feels like far fewer bugs than in ye olden days...

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