I live with a mosquito deterrent. He’s called Jimmy. They prefer his flesh.
If he’s not scratching he’s sleeping, and sometimes he does both at the same time. In the little free time he has, he smears on an oily Deet product intended for life in a tropical swamp, then complains that it doesn’t work when he finds a new welt. He’s not satisfied with the little bump most of us get from a mosquito but sports great white welts the size of a quarter centered nicely in an inflamed red patch two inches across. With a daub of red paint in the middle of each welt, he’d make an amusing advert for Target.
As a backup repellant he has discovered Avon Skin-So-Soft which has been proven to be effective against mosquitoes. He sprays himself liberally and ends up smelling like a girl. I find it rather attractive on him. Unfortunately so do the mosquitoes.
These little blood suckers are strangely drawn to my husband. A happy family of eight people, three generations of them, sat outside their RV at the site next door to us drinking, relaxing, laughing, chatting with nary a flap of the hand. Jimmy was up to a count of 15 angry weals.
Mosquitoes have a regular diet of nectar and the juices of plants but the females need a blood banquet before they can develop eggs. Jimmy should feel proud that he is The Chosen One – vital to the reproductive process of the species. And the reason they like him so much is that he is hot. Mosquitos prefer hot skin.
We were in North Dakota, not a place we had previously associated with mosquitoes but should have twigged when the local diner advertised Mosquito free dining. After the vicious monsters had bitten himself on the bum through his trousers, I went on the hunt for products, any products, to help.
The local Wal-Mart had a vast array of choice: electric zappers, sprays, lotions, coils, candles, oils, special tablets to heat with a candle, power lanterns, towelettes, clip-on personal fans with refills (so one could walk around in permanent fog of mosquito deterrent) – all available in several different brands. They were displayed prominently in the hardware section, the garden center, an island display at the front of the store and in the grocery section.
There were dozens of choices and hundreds and hundreds of items for indoors and out. This was a town declaring war on mozzies. I plumped for a citronella oil burner meant to be used outdoors. It was so teeny I figured it wouldn’t do any harm if I burned it indoors. I was right. It didn’t even harm the mosquitoes.
Where were they coming from? Mosquitoes like standing water. We were camped in a dry field.
A sluggish, brown stretch of the Missouri River flowed two miles from the campsite. It wasn’t exactly standing still but was certainly damp. Was it their source? With their ability to smell a victim from 50 meters, perhaps Jimmy’s breath was so extraordinarily intoxicating, his skin so delicious and blood so hot and fortifying that the mighty mozzies overcame their limitations to fly up from the river against gale force winds – winds so strong they rocked the trailer – to feed on The Chosen One’s blood and perpetuate their kind – Mosquiticus jimmerei.