How Many BBPM’s?

That’s blood-sucking bites per minute, but settle down, Twilight fans.  I’m not talking about vampires.

It wasn’t enough for Hurricane Irene to snort and blow through coastal North Carolina.  She left additional parting gifts of the kind that keep on giving.  Or, more accurately, taking.  

Mosquitoes.

Even here in Charlotte, where all we got were some stiff breezes and funny looking skies, the mosquito population seems especially obnoxious.  I can’t even deadhead the roses without feeling like bait and they find poor Dearly Beloved completely irresistible.   Even during afternoon walks, he gets nibbled.  The female mosquitoes are the biters, you know, especially the older ones.  (AS IF he doesn’t have enough to do, fending off the women who are attracted to him.  Or so he says.)

Experts say that some of the Outer Banks counties are experiencing the largest concentration of mosquitoes ever found in the United States.  For instance, a coastal county health official reported that a trap which usually captures 50 mosquitoes on a normal night captured 14,000 one night in the week after Hurricane Irene.

I can’t offer any advice on getting rid of them.  When those pricey mosquito trappers came out some years ago, we ordered one for the beach-house-not-on-the-beach, after a grandson got an infected ear from a bite.  The machine was the kind which emitted a sex pheromone to attract the female mosquito, then trap her.  We set it up near the deck where it remained mosquito free the entire summer.  Not the deck. . . the darned machine.  It never caught a single mosquito.

DB called the manufacturer, who asked, “What kind of mosquitoes do you have there?”  

Duh.  The kind that live on the NC coast and bite.

“Oh.  Our machine lures don’t work on your kind.” 

The unsexy machine was returned for a full refund.

There are 60 different kinds of mosquitoes in North Carolina, I’ve learned.  The black and brown marsh mosquitoes are leading the charge on the coast right now.  Their eggs can last for years.

Until last summer, our state had a five-person panel that monitored mosquitoes and guided counties on control methods, but it got swatted last year in budget cuts.   Counties are on their own now in deciding how to combat the insects and how to pay for it.  The most effective option–aerial spraying–costs about $200,000.

The infestations are hindering cleanup in the areas damaged by Irene.  When 200 mosquitoes a minute land on you, as one contractor reported, it’s hard to concentrate on the job at hand.

The New York Times reported Sunday that scientists in Jerusalem are having effective results in mosquito abatement with nectar poisoning.  Female mosquitoes need blood to lay eggs, but they also love a good snort of nectar from ripe or rotting fruit and such is the basis for these trials.  Scientists mix a poisoned nectar cocktail and spray it on tree branches.  While the concoction is harmless to humans and most beneficial insects, it’s deadly to mosquitoes.  The bacterial insecticide (Spinosad) they used is expensive, but they’ve also had impressive results substituting boric acid for the insecticide.

My brother claims that the mosquitoes along The Outer Banks are so large now they make a clinking noise when they hit a beer can.

I wonder what would happen if he poured out a saucer of that beer and added some boric acid.  Even if it didn’t kill mosquitoes, it might take out a few slugs.

Except for the odor of rotten fruit, the boric acid/fermented nectar mix shouldn’t harm humans.  I don’t know about vampires.

Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think.” – Tom Wilson 

The New York Times story on “Double-Edged Delicacies for Mosquitoes” is here.

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10 thoughts on “How Many BBPM’s?

  1. Illanoy Gal

    My husband has the same problem. If a mosquito gets in the house, he’s the one who gets the bite. And when he goes into the back yard – well, I swear they come from blocks around just to nibble on him. I used to tell him that it was only because he was irresistible to the ladies but I had to stop after he got very testy when I would say that. Guess it’s hard to laugh when you’re itching and scratching so much. (But he really is cute, even after all these years. 😉 )

  2. HOLY SH^T – 60 DIFFERENT KINDS?? 200 landings/minute??? Sounds like a really, REALLY bad grade D movie! 😦 Loved the picture of that sign!!:) Please ask BroJoe to send pictures of the real thing! 🙂

  3. Good Lord…! I won’t even ask what next. I never get a single bite but Cole is a magnet for mosquitoes. I think he is allergic to the mosquitoes bite because it blisters and swells. Poor kid lives on Bendryl during the summer and this heavy duty (I am sure it has all the bad stuff in it I just pretend it is Organic and refuse to look as I spray my kid from head to toe) mosquitoes spray we found in Alaska. It works.
    I would try the boric acid/fermented nectar mix and hang bounce sheets from the trees..It’s almost Halloween tell the neighbors they are ghost…add eyes with permanent marker if you must. (Bounce works the generic stuff not so much so.)
    60 kinds? Bad. So sorry.

  4. “What kind of mosquitoes do you have there?” Geez.
    They must do an enormous business in refunds.
    The poisoned nectar cocktail sounds like a plan….you could use any left over for all those women who are chasing your husband.

  5. I would make sure to hang out around your hubby and let him take the bite for you. What a guy. Love Tom Wilson’s quote.
    When I lived in Florida they were a constant problem but here in the Ozarks, only one bite in 8 years. Love this place.

  6. A friend of mine said that Absorbine Jr. (not the “regular” Absorbine) would repel mosquitoes. She says a dab behind each ear will keep them away from your head. I bought some but haven’t tried it yet. Fortunately we usually have enough breeze to keep the bloodsuckers away.

  7. All that Irene rain has created a hundreds of generations of new mosquitoes -YIKES!! Living in Florida, I totally get the mosquito misery.

    Love that caution sign…Love, love it.

    Cheers.
    velva

  8. This gives me some serious pause. I just finished reading the portion of Charles Mann’s 1493 that deals with the role of mosquitoes and malaria in the history of the Americas and its lasting legacy for our current economic problems. Itchy issues!

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