May 14, 2014

Cultural Behavior of Mosquitos

Some may think that one mosquito is as good as another, but I’m one who thinks otherwise.  In my experience, mosquitos have quite different behaviors depending upon which country they live in.  Further they have a different whine in their approach, and they attack in different ways.  For this writing I offer just three examples.

A Greek Mosquito.
You can tell by the accent
American mosquitos are impatient and persistent, darting back at you when you flick them away.  They might come around your ear to give some indication of their presence, but they can just as easily bite around your ankles or on the backs of your arms.  If you go hunting for them in your room in the middle of the night, they will hide on a dark surface but often give themselves away by changing their location and usually to a top place near the ceiling.  In this, you can spot their flight because they can’t stay still.

Japanese mosquitos are very quick and will fly low to the floor before they approach.  Their whine is more high pitched than American mosquitos and they are smaller and darker in color.  When you try to catch them midair, they will quickly dart away.  Yes, they’ll bite you on your bare scalp, but once you go after them, they will dash quickly to a wall and remain close to the floor.  They are patient and will hide skillfully when there is a hunter in pursuit.  They know you are thinking about them. 

Greek mosquitos are quite skillful and extremely patient.  They will give a warning by the ear, but they are quick paced and difficult to catch.  You might think you’ve gotten one with a hit against the wall, but that same mosquito will evade your swipe and wait on a dark surface for an hour before returning for a gulp of blood. There are no screens on any Greek windows.  Once the temperature goes over 70 and the wind stops, it’s fair game for mosquitos.  There is plenty of still water around the island for them to breed in.  Mosquitos do not fly in windy conditions.  I  may learn to love the wind.

Alexander conquering the Persians
Mosquito spraying began in Greece in April due to West Nile virus threat because of a warm winter.  Who is it who suggested that Alexander the Great, did not die of consumption or poisoning, but rather from the humble bite of a mosquito, perhaps a West Nile virus laden mosquito or malaria.  Whole civilizations conquered and yet Alexander thwarted by a lowly mosquito lying in wait so patiently for the warrior.  I'm afraid that where mosquitos are concerned,  I do not share the saintly mercy of Ryokan who, legend says, always put one leg outside his mosquito net to offer some food to these creatures.  Two mosquitos sucked my blood twice last night but I was equally patient and sadly brought about their demise in the long quiet hours between 2 and 4 a.m.