Buzz/Kill

By , May 9, 2014

I often write about the cyclical nature of life here on the “homestead.” Currently, we’re beginning the mosquito season once again.

Apparently, some mosquitoes overwinter. I suspect those that do are the really big ones we see when their season begins. Their size can be downright intimidating—I went after one the other day that I assumed was a type of fly until I’d killed and inspected it. Luckily, they’re easy to see. Not only that, they’re quite slow, and they don’t seem to bite, at least not very aggressively. They’re almost like trainer mosquitoes, a period of slow, easy ones to get us back in shape for the season.

We don’t see a lot of mosquitoes in the compound, probably because there’s no real standing water for them to breed in until you get up the hill near “the swamp.” Also, we’re a comfortable home for hummingbirds, chickadees, and other mosquito eaters.

Mosquitoes get into the house a couple at a time. Mostly, I hear them in the night as they wander around the bedroom. I obsessively hunt them down with a headlamp.

This is no mean feat. They’re small and hard to see, especially in our bedroom, with natural wood wall sprinkled with staples and nails from the previous owner’s daughter’s decorations. These, splinters, and other flaws in the woods make very mosquito-like shadows in a flashlight beam. I’m half asleep anyway, so it can take a long time to gain some peace.

The problem is, killing the one or two mosquitoes in the room by no means settles the issue. I’m amazed by the variety of things on or around the “homestead” that make noises that match the range of frequencies into which a mosquito’s humming falls into! That includes the wind generator at certain wind speeds, the vibration of waves on the beach, even the ceaseless noise of the sea lions across Lynn Canal at Gran Point. Add to this boats of all sizes, helicopters, planes, Michelle’s and the cat’s breathing, even my own breathing. To my half asleep senses, nearly everything sounds like a buzzing mosquito.

This won’t last. If the cycle holds true, I’ll grow tired of the hunt, and be more likely to ignore most mosquitoes, even as they become more aggressive about biting.

When I was a child, I must have been allergic to bug bites. I swelled horribly, itched terribly, and each bite tormented me for weeks at a time. Now, while I’d rather not be bitten if I can help it, bug bites are a minor annoyance. In the range of possible bug bites in our season, mosquitoes are very low on my personal scale. Sometimes I don’t even notice them.

I’m looking forward to the progression, because I’m already tired of launching into kill mode each time I hear a buzz. Besides, I could use the sleep.

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