Everything in nature has a purpose.
The purpose of the Noble Mosquito [Culiseta longiareolata] is to keep our campsites from becoming overcrowded.
What I see as a minor annoyance in the overall experience of camping, those with a weaker constitution – or with less-developed mosquito-minimization strategies – succumb to like Kleenex on a campfire.
And as much as I like people, I camp to get away from them (especially those high-maintenance mosquito wusses). So the Noble Mosquito is the protector of my solitude. It keeps the annoying human masses at bay.
By now, I’m sure I have offended the annoying masses I seek to avoid, so it may be safe to discuss some of my personal mosquito-minimization strategies.
First let me say that I hate the stink and feel of insect repellent. I use it only as a last resort and consider it a failure when I do.
The early camping trips involve a certain amount of effort to re-acquaint my system with the toxins left behind by the Noble Mosquito.
While I don’t lie naked in a swamp, I do little to discourage the early biters. They are generally few and slow, so the toll they take on my system is minimal. But it does serve to build immunity.
I also adhere to some of the more prevalent “folk” remedies. For example, I eat garlic. Enough garlic that the scent of it oozes from my pores.
I have yet to attract an Italian bear with this scent (which might cause me to reconsider this strategy) and if it doesn’t actually repel the mosquitoes, it is certain to have some effect on the annoying human masses.
Mosquitoes are drawn to rapid movement and sweat. This is the reason you will often find me sitting peacefully by the fire or lounging at the beach (not because I am lazy, as my repellent-marinated, but lovely, wife might have you believe).
My father is convinced that mosquitoes don’t like the colour orange. I don’t know what science says about mosquitoes and colour blindness (but then, when have folk remedies ever been constrained by anything as avant-garde as science) but I have seen Dad demonstrate the effect.
I should note that he demonstrated it on the third day of a camping trip with the one orange shirt he had been wearing all weekend. Which leads me to suspect he was actually employing a modified “garlic” strategy.
I also firmly believe in the importance of taking a “best defence is a good offence” approach.
I’ve done some research on this. A female mosquito can lay from 200-400 eggs per breeding cycle. Given the rapidity with which mosquitoes breed, that one female can be the progenitor of as many as 10 generations a season.
If only half her offspring are females and survive long enough to breed at the same rate as their Mom, the next generation alone could parent as many as 40,000 flying artists of exsanguination.
Go ahead, I dare you. Do the math on that!
A mosquito you allow to survive on the May 24 weekend could establish a lineage of astronomical proportions by Labour Day weekend.
To put that into perspective, the 35 mosquitoes we killed over our first camping weekend in Atlin this year represent millions unable to pester the good people of that community this season.
And that’s not even counting the critters who nobly sacrificed their lives on our windshield en route to and from the campsite.