In theory, nature is always in balance and humankind’s influence upsets that balance bringing forth results unwanted and unlooked for. I live far enough back in the woods to be at peace with nature, and nature at peace with me. I have never used chemicals for pest control but have relied on spiders keeping the insects at bay. This has nearly always worked well, and even when it did not the problems I have had with bugs have been few and manageable. Up until now, that is.
Last Friday while I was working out in the yard I noticed there were more mosquitoes than there had ever been before. Not just a few more, but more in an order of magnitude. Not just much more, but swarms more, clouds more, creepy B grade horror movies more, and then a new shipment arrived just in time for the weekend. I am not kidding a bit here. There were more mosquitoes than I had ever seen here before, or for that matter anywhere at any time in place in my life.
It was a biblical plague of mosquitoes sans old man with staff and robe.
The odd thing about all of this is I should have fewer mosquitoes rather than more at this point in time. I went out and cleared a lot of the underbrush around the house, mowed the grass down low, and I’ve had fires burning here for the last few weeks, off and on. Everything I know about keeping mosquitoes away from my house has turned out not to be true, or if it is true, this invasion is a lot scarier than it looks even from this point. Could it be I kept it from being even worse?
The mulch pile, because it is a place of great dampness, is overrun with them. It is impossible to get near it without being lifted off and carried away. The mosquitoes boil out of the area around the mulch pile like bees out of a hive. It’s bad enough there but once they get on the porch they don’t seem to be able to find their way off again and so there is this massive flock of mosquitoes who are trapped on the porch with nowhere to go but inside. And inside they will come, too.
Yesterday we killed a dozen or so in the computer room. Using pieces of rolled up paper and a towel we swatted and popped mosquitoes like antiaircraft gunners on an aircraft carrier blasting away at Kamikazes. The scary part in all of this is about half of them splattered in streaks of bright red blood. Whose blood is this? Sam’s? Lucas’? Mine? Or is this the blood of other hosts from other areas? Is it bird blood or rodent blood or horse blood? How much disease is carried in these drops of red? Each flying imp is carrying a used syringe full of pathogens we cannot detect or defend against. This is blood donations not given to the Red Cross but taken by the Red Plague.
It’s bad enough I can see them coming but once outside I can hear them coming too. There is a loud audible whine, a sort of winged annoyance that occurs when that many flying insects take off towards their intended prey. It’s like having billions and billions of tiny winged wolves attack in a pack that if they were really wolves, would devour the elk population on earth in a matter of minutes. There really are that many of them here right now and I have never seen anything like this in my life. I’ve been in this house for eleven years and this is the first time anything like this has happened.
The ten inches of rain we got a few weeks ago might explain some of this but the rain fell weeks ago. I am no expert in the breeding habits of blood sucking pests but I wouldn’t think it would take this long for the mosquitoes to catch up with the water. And even if the massive rainfall did cause this explosion in population then where is the natural balance in all of this? Where are the predators who should be feasting in the mosquito banquet? Where are the dragonflies and barn swallows and other beneficial animals that should be racking up the weight right now? Out here in the boonies I would expect there to be some counteroffensive by now. I would think if nothing else the dragonflies would be swarming yet I see very few of them at all.
The mosquitoes await me. There they are right now, bouncing against the window panes, trying to get into the house. It doesn’t matter how many die as long as a few live to get past the first lines of defense to draw blood from the unwilling, like some hemoglobinic rape. They are truly everywhere. Every cliché’ in every bad movie where the trapped humans are picked off one by one is played out in my home. They come in every time the door is opened for a supply run, they fly through every hidden crack under the doors, and each attempt at escape is met with failure and blood loss.
This is a plague of proportions I have never witnessed. There isn’t anything in my lifetime of experience that suggests there is a course of action that will bring relief in this. I feel like Custer counting American natives. I feel like the defenders of the Alamo counting Mexicans. I feel like Ted Bundy counting watts. This is truly overwhelming. There isn’t an answer to this. I will be forced to leave my dogs out all day with these creatures and hope like hell they live long enough for me to get home from work. I have no idea what to do about this, but I am fairly certain I’m not going to put a dent is this invasion of the bloodsuckers.
I just hope they start taking turns, taking numbers, and stop taking quarts.