Skeeters … they’re back — but did they ever really go away?

Published 6:57 pm Friday, March 30, 2012

A segue (seg-way) is a smooth verbal transition from one subject to another. We hear them all the time on television, particularly during the news.

For instance, during the news, there is a gardening segment on azaleas and how pretty and colorful they are during their optimum times. As the focus of the program comes back to the news anchor, he or she might introduce the sports segment like this, “And speaking of azaleas, let’s turn to the upcoming Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta.” That’s a very natural segue.

A few days ago, I was singing an old song as I prepared my piece of toast. Donna Sue always enjoys the way I butcher, that is, destroy the original words of old songs. At one time in my life I could remember all the words in a fairly accurate way, but “Nevermore,” quoth the raven.

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The song I was singing was “The End of the World.” You might remember a line or two better than I. “Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore?” I think Donna Sue knew all the words and asked the question, “Who sang it?” She thought it was Connie Francis or Brenda Lee. I said it was Jackie DeShannon. Those may be names you remember from that era, but none of them were correct; at least none of them had the Billboard Hit. Since we both had inquiring minds, I told her I would look it up.

I did and found that it was sung and carried to popularity on many musical charts by a Nashville country singer by the name of Skeeter Davis. Now, I’ve gone a long way for a segue, but here it comes.

Speaking of “skeeters,” how are Mother Nature’s dive bombers doing at your house? I use the fighter plane analogy because of the scene I saw at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton, Fla., one day as I was flying into the commercial part of the air field.

There were scores of fighter planes, perhaps F-16’s or some other related plane and they were small, but dangerous looking. And, they had a long and pointed snout that reminded me of a mosquito’s proboscis. That’s the hypodermic-like apparatus that the female skeeter uses to bite. Did you know that only the female mosquito bites?

I think mosquitoes and gnats bring to mind the same comment. “I believe they (skeeters or gnats) are worse this year than ever before.” I don’t know about being worse, but mosquitoes seem to be getting an earlier start. Must have been the almost, nonexistent winter. There were not too many freezing days and nights to at least “knock them back a little.” I mentioned that to someone the other day and they reminded me that mosquitoes hibernate. I thought only bears and snakes hibernated.

Did you know that mosquitoes are at least 30 million years old and are present on every continent of the world except Antarctica? No, but I do remember when the last one left last year, it looked at me and quoted one of my favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger lines, “I’ll be back!” My thought is that they never left.

I saw the city truck the other night, coming by to spray. I had wondered how long it would take them to build up the courage to get out and try to knock back the bloodsuckers. The truck looked pretty healthy as it drove by headed for the cul-de-sac where that holding pond that serves as the incubator for my neighborhood’s skeeter gangs is.

Unfortunately, I never saw it return. The next morning as I walked Little Bit, I saw that the mosquitoes had attacked the truck. It had four flat tires and the back windshield had been broken out. The hose that usually sprays the chemical to kill the varmints had been ripped out and twisted around the sprayer and a flag had been put up, “Skeeter Crossing.”

I was reading about mosquitoes and found out that they are attracted to some people more than others. The information from WebMD is that one in 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes. Oh, to be one of the lucky nine, but I don’t think so. I must be pretty tasty. They seem to like my O Positive.

Also, it’s not hunger that drives a female mosquito to bite. It’s not that she is looking for dinner, but her motherly instinct. Human blood, it seems, is the fertilizer for the eggs she carries. And not just anyone’s blood will do.

The people who study such things (probably a billion dollar grant from the government) say that it’s our body chemistry that attracts them. Perhaps there is an odor about us or even the internal make-up of our bodies. For sure anyone who sweats or has a warm temperature is more apt to attract them. That’s a very good reason to stop working hard enough to sweat.
Obviously, the bite of a skeeter is annoying in the least and, with all the diseases that they carry, dangerous. At the same time, there is something else that drives me crazy about summer’s greatest pest.

Maybe the door has been left open too long and one or more got in. In the old days when we had screens on the windows and kept them open at night, there could have been a hole in the screen that let the mosquito in. Bedtime has arrived and all the lights are out and day is done. Time to go to sleep.

Buzzzzzzzzz. It’s unmistakable. Not a fly which is annoying enough. The skeeter’s high pitched buzz is impossible to ignore. Why? Because to ignore it is to invite the little varmint to light upon the skin and begin to siphon off a quart of go-juice! Arms flail, covers are pulled up over the head. One problem. The mosquito is under the cover with you. Make you wanta holler.

Dear Lord, did you say that there was some good in all things?