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  • Writer's pictureLara Cox

Bite Me

I take it back. To any of my clients who I've told over the last 16 plus years that we don't really have mosquitoes here, I sincerely apologize. In my defense, I've lived here for over 33 years and have only been bitten maybe twice in all that time. These last few weeks have truly been a crazy anomaly. Apparently in the right conditions (i.e. multiple desert summer storms creating standing water all around the valley) mosquitoes seem to magically rise from the desert floor to procreate.

A few weeks ago, my husband had two red welts on his leg. The next day, I had matching bites. I thought there might be a spider lurking in our bedroom, but the next morning I saw a mosquito on the edge of a pitcher of water in my kitchen. I wasn't fast enough to get it and both of us were bitten multiple times every single day in the following week by that sneaky little beeotch. I never once saw her again and I felt like a hostage in my own home—constantly paranoid, itchy, and twitchy. Between our unwanted vampire house-guest drinking my blood a few times every day and spending a couple of hours doing yard work on a Saturday, I had 26 extremely itchy bites at one point.

I learned that only female mosquitoes bite. Male mosquitoes feed only on plant juices such as nectar. Female mosquitoes, as it turns out, need the protein from blood for the development of their eggs. Should I mind giving a little blood for the survival of a species that is an important source of biomass (adults provide food for birds, bats, frogs, and larvae food for fish)? Truly, I wouldn't mind so much if the bites didn't itch. Turns out itching and swelling is the body's immune response sending histamine to counteract the saliva of the mosquito, which it views as an allergen. Okay, fine. Once my bites heal and fade, I may have a more copasetic view, but right now I can't help feeling like mosquitoes are simply the worst.



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