Did you know that the literal translation of “mosquito” from Spanish or Portuguese, means, “little fly?” Been bit yet? Well, just wait–you will be soon. Only the female “little fly” bites and she will travel 7 miles for food—meaning to suck your blood. One online resource says this about mosquitoes, “though the loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the victim, the saliva of the mosquito often causes an irritating rash that is a serious nuisance. Much more serious though, are the roles of many species of mosquitoes as vectors of diseases. In passing from host to host, some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus and filariasis.”
Female mosquitoes lay eggs mostly in stagnant water. Heads up people, Amarillo is full of illegally dumped tires full of stagnant water from all the recent rain. One female can lay 100 to 200 eggs, but over a period of several weeks she can lay eggs numbering into the thousands. Depending on temperature, some eggs become mosquitoes in a few days. The same online resource says this: “In many species, the female needs to obtain nutrients from a blood meal before she can produce eggs, whereas in many other species, she can produce more eggs after a blood meal. The feeding preferences of mosquitoes include those with type O blood, heavy breathers, those with a lot of skin bacteria, people with a lot of body heat, and the pregnant.”
So are you growing mosquitoes where you live? The Amarillo Environmental Health Department has a website at www.ci.amarillo.tx.us. that explains what we all need to do NOW to deal with what we already know will be a bad year for the “little flies.” Their website has a bulletin entitled “Are You Growing Mosquitoes in Your Backyard” which says this: “Any container of water can be a place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Tip and toss water containers to stop mosquitoes: Tip and toss water containers for pets, water containers for outdoor plants; water in bird baths, trash containers, tires, ornamental ponds. You should empty and refill these containers every two or three days to keep mosquitoes from growing into adults that bite.”
The Environmental Health Department website also says that they treat standing water throughout the City to control mosquitoes. Before and after every rain, new areas of standing water are treated including ditches and lots. The department also space sprays areas inside the City when adult mosquitoes are found.
In 2002 West Nile virus was an illness identified in the Texas Panhandle including Amarillo. Mosquitoes can spread this disease to animals and humans when they bite. Most people do not have any symptoms, while others can have a slight fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen areas under arms or jaws.
Anyone over 50 should be cautious and if you have a sudden onset of severe headaches, fever, or mental confusion seek medical care quickly.”
Heads up everyone check to see if you are growing mosquitoes in your backyard. Stop dumping tires in the alley that are now full of stagnant water with big ole mosquitoes hatching by the thousands.
Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.