Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn


Mosquitoes! Passing Clouds daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Passing Clouds
5x7, acrylic on canvas
$150 framed

The rains have finally come to Marco Island and the Everglades, and along with the rains we have a growing crop of Florida's pesky mosquitoes. Over 30 different kinds of mosquitoes thrive in Collier County. Certain species, and male mosquitoes, don't bite humans mat all. It's the females of some species that need the protein and iron a little blood can provide to facilitate reproduction.

Mosquitoes need standing water for the larvae and pupa stages of growth. Our lush, tropical foliage, native and otherwise, provide the perfect water retentive pools after every downpour.

When you hear that little whine in your ear your body immediately goes into action. Your senses go on high alert, and you begin to move away from the sound and to slap your body in the places the mosquito could land. It's a natural protective mechanism.

That whine can be served with punch! Mosquitoes are considered not only a nuisance but a health threat. They've spread West Nile virus over the Eastern United States in just three years and the little bloodsuckers also carry malaria, encephalitis and dengue.

You can run, but you can't hide. The mosquito is drawn to the carbon monoxide you exhale, and to some of the over 300 scents the are on your skin. Tests being conducted now will help to identify what mosquitoes are drawn more to some people than others.

In the last couple of years we were fortunate to have large swarms of dragonflies, a natural predator of the mosquito keeping the numbers in control. Unfortunately, there's no sign of them this year.

The EPA has some tips for controlling mosquitos, and here's a little quiz if you want to know more.


Tara O'Neill said...

Ah mosquitoes! You know, in the late sixties and early seventies the air here was FILLED with dragon flies and, in the evenings, bats. I've often wonder if mosquito control did more to kill off the mosquitoes' predators than the actual little blighters themselves. hmmm.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

I wonder that, too. I've found dead bees after the spraying and feel so sad. I love the dragonflies, and we had plenty last year with few mosquitos but this year the winds are more often backwards. Maybe some bat houses are in order.

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