Bitten

I’ve been bitten. I’ve a bit of Cyclops thing going on, on my forehead: a raised white bump with a red pinhole dot in the middle. Thankfully, it’s not bang in the centre but more off to the side. It looks weird. I have a few more scattered in various places around my bod, but they’re hidden from the public eye.

In trying to figure out what exactly bit me, I remembered something I’d heard recently at the World Health Organization (WHO): insect transmitted diseases are our future. Bad news for me.

In chatting to a friend from the Cook Islands after the talk, I discovered more about mozzies that I’d known. Each year, Malaria infects some 247 million people worldwide and kills nearly a million. And there’s more. Close to 60 000 more people around the world die from other diseases transmitted by the blighters. I’d heard of yellow fever, and of dengue, but I’d not heard of the third leg of the deadly triad: chikungunya.

I did some reading and learned even more:

  • Mozzies suck blood when they need to lay eggs so it’s only the females that do the damage. How right Kipling was when he said that the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
  • Back in 2015, scientists figured out a way to turn female mozzies into males. That sounded good to me, if it meant fewer bites, but apparently, one of the scientists has figured out a glitch, commenting that ‘the whole system would be cheaper and more efficient if you could produce only males.‘ That made me smile. A world without women eh?
  • Mozzies have been around for more than 100 million years so it would seem they have squatters’ rights and killing them off would be a little mad.
  • Apparently fish find mozzies very tasty – and if they were to disappear (or be disappeared),  ‘hundreds of species of fish would have to change their diet to survive.’ And fish aren’t the only ones that enjoy these tasty morsels: insects, spiders, salamanders, lizards, and frogs are quite fond of mozzies, too.
  • Of the 3,500 named species of mosquito, only 200 or so bite humans – and I think I’ve met a representative of each of the bothersome species personally.

The bad news for me is that mozzies love the Kis Balaton – it’s like a vacation spot for them. I’m not looking forward to being fed on this summer. I’ve been doing my research. I’ve planted the basil and the lavender, and other plants that are supposed to keep them away – but so far no luck. AndI’ve been pulling up Ageratum, thinking it was a weed. Damn.

As a repellent, I’ve a number of things on my list to try:
  • A headband made of marigolds and geraniums – could start a new fashion trend
  • Homemade citronella body scrub – beats reeking of garlic (another option)
  • Mint-infused body lotion – prefer my mint on lamb or with rum, but hey
  • A natural lemon eucalyptus spray – if I can find one, or make one
  • Dr T’s mosquito-repelling granules – this is  US solution but the EU search is on
  • Add some BTI briquettes to my bird bath, killing them off before they can breathe  – ouch
And if I’m too late, then rubbing a slice of lemon on a bite will apparently reduce the swelling and take away the itch. Garlic does the same but I think lemon might smell a tad better.
My Hare Krishna friends would be horrified at the thoughts of this wanton killing of living creatures. If we could negotiate a truce, I’d be happy. But them mozzies ain’t listening. They won’t leave me alone. And I’ve tried talking… honestly.

 

 

 

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