A Summer Fun Public Service Announcement

I think if I had a house and a yard I’d put in a bat house. I have been thinking about bats for weeks. Bat houses are about biocontrol – introducing natural predators of mosquitoes. According to the Encyclopedia Dramatica, ‘batshit crazy’ means insane. The symptoms of malaria in children mimic brain damage, or, insanity. It’s all related at the SuperOrder level.

Because my ankles are covered in mosquito bites that itch so insistently that they are scabbed over from scratching and the bites are so painful that I actually have to take a less hot shower than usual, I think I’d have a bat house. Bats are going to live somewhere so why not in my imaginary future yard. Bats eat 1000 mosquitoes per hour, each! Everyone who lives within 50 miles of me should have a bat house. Just a thought.

Image: Mosquito au Jus, prepared by my pretend raw chef and served on a silver platter, for my bat friends

Bats are part of the ecosystem and that whole Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species thing (Random access memory is an unpredictable phenomenon – Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, yo) so clearly they are here to stay. And when you (meaning me) build a bat house you don’t import bats from other far-flung places and thus increase the local bat population, you just lure existing local ones to your (meaning my) yard to eat said protozoan parasite carriers.

But really, it takes just one bite from a mosquito bearing the gift of Lyme Disease (often called Lyme‘s Disease due that peculiar thing of adding an s to the end of all things, as mentioned in Meandering in tibial, fibulacular and other memorium) and it’s a killer affliction.

Time out–> eXpresso vs. eSpresso, eXscape vs. eScape (as in THE THIN WATERS OF ESCAPEGOATISM), all things pluralized, your vs. you’re, it’s vs. its, then vs. than, all things that remind me of days as a proofreader which was so boring that I’d like to forget, my own nonchalant and often clueless abstract punctuation, and so on – these are a few of the things that make my lower teeth hurt.

Okay-Lyme (without an s) disease is actually caused by ticks, BUT, mosquitoes can carry malaria, which is caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. “The females of most mosquito species suck blood (hematophagy) from other animals, which has made them the most deadly disease vectors known to man, killing millions of people (like me) over thousands of years and continuing to kill millions per year by the spread of diseases.” [source] So I am blaming mosquitoes for everything and trying to get everyone within 50 miles to be my ally in this war against the blood-sucking killer bitch mosquitoes from Hell. [Sweetly now,] If you had to walk a mile in my many dozens of mosquito bites you’d see it my way. I am a phenomenon, a freak of nature, a whatever-oxide major-output machine.

Ok again-malaria is not very common here and I got caught in a lie about mosquitoes causing Lyme Disease but this is my pretend war on mosquitoes and it is being played out by my rules.

Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon whatchamacalli-oxide emitted by your body. Once I had a panic attack before a 23 hour flight, and they checked my levels with a clippy thing on my finger and I was 100% percent oxygenated. I felt proud, which eased my anxiety. But no wonder I get attacked.

Relatedly, years ago before a canyoneering trip in Escalante, Utah, I became temporarily obsessed (surprise!) with preparing for possible encountered dangers so I looked up things like how quicksand works (don’t struggle, it’s only waist deep usually, wait for help, use your cell phone, it’s denser than you are) and found this hilarious and sadly unpoachable animated drawing (approximated sans animation above) of a simple blonde man struggling in quicksand [see it here]; another threat – scorpion/rattlesnake bites (do not give the victim alcohol or narcotics – things one always brings hiking – suck the venom out); and hypothermia (light a fire?).

I also ‘researched’ why mosquitoes attack some people relentlessly and seem to ignore others. As it turns out they haven’t found a connection between virtue and mosquito attraction; in fact they found no substantial correlations at all except that there is a teeny correlation between number of bites and healthy vs non-healthy adults.

Image: I love my bats so I built them this house, fashioned after a resort I am hoping someone will take me to one day on Vahine Island. I made them a boat and some entertainment. I love my bats, even though they always get tangled in my hair when they try to show affection.

So I found this Bat Conservation International website, www.batcon.org (seriously) and found, “People all over the world have discovered the benefits and wonder of using bat houses to attract bats to their own backyards. We hope you will join them by providing new homes for these gentle and fascinating mammals with a voracious appetite for troublesome insects.

BCI’s Bat House Project can help you select (or build) and install successful bat houses. We have analyzed more than 10 years of data from thousands of volunteer Research Associates to determine the most effective ways to attract bats to your bat house.

What we have learned from this extensive research is available in an easy-to-apply format in the Bat House Builder’s Handbook, which includes complete plans for three proven bat-house designs, which is available from our online catalog, as are a number of BCI-certified bat houses.”

Maybe this amusement park includes Mr. Toad’s Allegory Ride in addition to The Metaphor-go-Round.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Lyme Disease Facts

Malaria and Your ability to reason or blog

One blogger’s brave campaign against uncomfortable mosquito bites

3 Responses to “A Summer Fun Public Service Announcement”

  1. I googled mosquito diseases, because I couldn’t remember West Nile Fever and I knew it would come up in the search. I was rewarded with a link to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which apparently used to be called the National Center for Infectious Disease (NDIC). They provide on this page a partial list of Mosquito-borne diseases:

    Arboviral Encephalitides: Mosquito-transmitted viral diseases causing brain inflammation/encephalitis. Includes information on the diseases and their mosquito vector species…
    · Eastern equine encephalitis
    · Japanese encephalitis
    · La Crosse encephalitis
    · St. Louis encephalitis
    · West Nile virus
    · Western equine encephalitis
    Dengue Fever
    Rift Valley Fever
    Yellow Fever

    Mosquitoes are also responsible for carrying heartworm to our best friends… “Once infected a dog is infected for life. The sexually mature nematodes discharge tiny (less than 1/800″ long) immature worms called microfilariae into the blood stream of a dog. They do not develop further in the dog, but they can survive in the blood for up to three years. They must be ingested by a mosquito before they can progress further in their development.” This is from University of Florida, IFAS Extension and has much more info about how heart worm develops than I ever wanted to know.

    The CDC also provides a section on Travelers’ Health, Health information for specific destinations, outbreak alerts, precautions, vaccination requirements. Includes mosquito-borne diseases.

    If you convince everyone within a 50 mile radius of your home to install a bat house, your 50 square miles might become an important tourist destination. You might rather have the mosquitoes?

  2. It may not be funny, but I laughed repeatedly. And now I am very thoughtful…

    Also I know of a guy who does AMAZING bat-art, and you might want to get in touch with him at http://www.timmurley.com

    Maybe his art would just SCARE the mosquitos away, or reform them to a better way of life…

  3. […] And who knows? I might suffer vertigo when we stay in those glass-bottom huts on Vehine Island (where I built those bat houses with Tony Bennett a while back) or I might suffer mistaken anxiety when my body misreads the signals from my stomach from eating […]

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