Birds and Bugs

I love birds. I hate bugs.

Now there are people who love bugs. They study bugs; they touch them, hold them, they even talk lovingly to them. These people are called entomologists or maniacs. The bugs I hate the most are mosquitoes—those flying derringers of disease who deposit death by way of itchy lumps on one’s skin.

I am a man beloved by mosquitoes. They attack me ceaselessly when I am outdoors or, if one or more have the brazenness to swoop into my house, they have an unquenchable lust to suck every last drop of my blood leaving me a formerly scratching, now lifeless husk on my bed or floor.

Let me give you an example: My wife, the Beautiful AP, and I recently took a leisurely bird walk at our favorite nature preserve at Jamaica Bay. I slathered myself in diethyltoluamide—Deet as it is known in the trade—in the hopes that my tiny but vicious enemies would leave me alone. That stuff is supposed to work, right?

Wrong!

When I got home I had the traditional bites on my exposed skin but these monstrous creatures had even penetrated my clothing, thereby making the rest of my body look as if I were turning into the lizard man.

On that walk in that bucolic environment, I wanted to see beautiful song birds and those awesome raptors dominating the sky, but instead I succumbed to a flying, buzzing, biting bug. We left the walk early and I commenced moaning about my lot in life. I am (I must admit) a good moaner.

Why are mosquitoes attracted to me? It could be my sweet blood or blood type (type 0 is one of their delights) but it can also be the type of bacteria I have on my skin. Yes, these little brutes are attracted to a certain type of bacteria that about 20 percent of us have. I must have it in abundance.

Mankind almost extinguished some of the most wonderful birds on our planet; the eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons, among other raptors, trying to eradicate disease-carrying mosquitoes by using DDT, which certainly did kill those little bugs that cause a host of diseases including Zika, West Nile, Malaria, Dengue and the new one Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE or Triple E.

Killing the mosquitoes back when was great (in my humble opinion) but discovering that our raptors were laying eggs with shells that were so brittle they broke apart before the offspring could get a claw-hold on life was not so great. DDT was great at killing bugs but awful for raptors.

What am I to do now? I’m buying mosquito-repellant clothing because I’m itching to never have them bite me again.

Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at smile.amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, as e-books and at bookstores.

 

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