Executive Bio

Those Darn Mosquitoes

It seems inappropriate that something as small as a mosquito should have such a large influence on the quality of life, especially in the summer when the best times are to be had in the great outdoors. And yet, they sometimes do.

Stores are full of sprays, candles, black lights, adhesives, and other concoctions meant to defeat the little blood suckers, none of which have ever seemed effective to our family. Now, technology is getting in on the act with various inventions involving frequencies, among other things. Google “mosquito repellant” and you can fill a summer afternoon learning about the next “best thing” to rid us of these mighty-mini-monsters.

This year’s prolonged monsoon season brought a bumper crop of mosquitoes, which has lessened my enthusiasm for getting out. I have nothing against them personally, I just wish they would leave me alone. In dry years we get more of the creepy crawly things, in wet years we get more of these things. I know we need the water. I should be happy for it, and I am. But this little stinger that comes with it? Not so much.

I grew up in Southen California where our family enjoyed beach and mountain camping. These were good times and they are wonderful memories … except when the mosquitoes showed up. This confliction remains today, suggesting that the little buggers may be time travellers on top of everything else.

I encountered them in Southeast Asia as well. Talk about monsoons! Sure enough, the little insect with the big bite was all over us, except they weren’t so little there. Working on the flightline under the lights at night, we would constantly be smothered by them. They were so big we joked that they could hold our flashlights and read the tech manuals to us. Really.

They were even a problem in the barracks. I used to tuck the mosquito netting in under my mattress all the way around, then reach under it with a can of repellent and spray it liberally before getting into my rack. How could that not be safe? I still woke up swatting and scratching. Lately, I’ve transferred the netting concept to the hammock on our deck, which is where I sometimes sleep during the warm months. It seems to work okay, but some of them are so small they get in anyway.

Mosquitoes, what are they good for anyway? Well, actually, they are good for some things. They drink a lot of nectar and pollinate all kinds of plants, and they are a food source for birds, snakes, and other animals that I prefer bite something other than me. Mosquito larvae also help by feeding on algae, parasites, and fungus. And if you haven’t noticed, they are the engine behind a larger than you might think segment of the economy. I know, because our family has been supporting it for generations.

But I have good news for all you fellow sufferers: It’s September, and those little bite machines are about to get cold.

Photo by Egor Kamelev from 

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