Ode to the dragonfly and any other mosquito-eating insects
Tis the season for the nasty, relentless, bloodsucking flying beast that is the mosquito. Oh how I detest its name. For good reason, of course. I assume the loathing is universal.
Authorities in Ontario have come out with their latest report for West Nile. In this report it states that West Nile has been detected in mosquitos in the region. This means that mosquitos once again pose as a threat to the public. No need for alarm yet, but just note that this is the earliest that the virus has been detected in Hamilton on record (June 25th being the previous record).
As defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), West Nile is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) most commonly spread by infected mosquitos. It can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). There is no vaccine.
The weather plays a huge part in the early onset of mosquito reproduction; they like humid, warm and wet conditions to lay their eggs and thus multiply. And with more mosquitos comes a greater the risk of being bitten, especially in areas near water.
We Canadians love the outdoors on so many levels. As such, we need to be cautious while outside near lakes and rivers, around campfires, and while on trails near wooded areas. Repellent with Deet is the most effective in one’s efforts to stave off mosquito attacks. But be sure to read the labels; always know what you are using, how to apply, and if there are any side effects. It is also good to wear protective clothing, use your air-conditioning if you have it, close all windows and doors, and use screens if you want your windows or doors to stay open. These tools are especially important to follow near nighttime when mosquitoes are out the most.
By the way, if you see the zippy acrobatic multi-winged flier – the dragonfly – give it plenty of praise and offer only goodwill. Dragonflies are good mosquito hunters and a splendid one at that. The Yellow-winged Darter is particularly colourful, and more importantly, a deft predator of the blood-sucking brand. Don’t stand in its way!
Stay safe and enjoy your summer outdoors!