Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Foggy Day for Mosquitoes

When I was a child, I lived on a river.   The river was not a large one, we called it a creek.  More accurately The Crick, in the South Jersey accent of the day.  I doubt they call it the "Coopah Crick" any longer. 

Before my day, people would swim in the water and eat the fish from it.  I've been told it was a beautiful river. 

People then moved out from Philadelphia and built homes along it's banks.  By the time that I was around, The Crick was turned green from the algae because of those homes.  The homes had lawns, the lawns had fertilizer, the fertilizer grew the plants both aquatic and not. 

Businesses came with the people and light manufacturing sprung up upstream.  That meant you didn't really want to drink the water.  We were told not to swim in it although I have no proof that it was poisonous.  My generation was the ones who stood by the banks and wondered why we couldn't instead of why not.

As we stood by the banks we'd get bit and that was our signal to go home.  Being South Jersey, the state bird was the Mosquito.  The county would take care of that.  In summer, the trucks would come around and spray a fog through our little neighborhood to "control" the mosquitoes.   I didn't really see the difference since I'm that person who would be a feast for them.  I have "sweet blood". 

The fog was thick and white and chemical.  As kids, we didn't know that if it could kill the mosquitoes, it could be nasty for you.  I probably still carry some of those chemicals in my body to this day because we'd all run around in the milky fog not understanding what it was.  It didn't really help and then the DDT ban hit and we stopped seeing this childhood memory of the future.

Fast forward to today and South Florida.

Today Lettie took me for a drag around Wilton Manors.  Lettie and I came off of Wilton Drive, passed the Java Boys, Alibi, and Poverello and the rest of the Shoppes.  When I rounded the corner I saw a yellow flashing light and a large pickup truck with some mechanics on the bed.   Lettie didn't care, she was happy to be out and was running out of power herself on the last leg of the walk. 

As I got closer the truck growled to life, a loud mechanical hissing sound happened like a great snake or a steam leak from the industries long gone to China to fuel Target's greed.  It pulled off before I got within a block, hissing away and leaving a fog in the early predawn light. 

Rounding my corner, the east end of the block looked oddly familiar.  Like after the fog trucks of New Jersey, there was a distinct haze to the air.  Broward County has begun spraying for Mosquitoes.

Despite the questionable results of what we had in New Jersey back in the day, I'm all for Broward County spraying here.  I could not walk outside unless it was full sun in the middle of the day unless I was either fully clothed in jeans and a shirt, or constantly moving in shorts and T-Shirt. 

I've donated quite enough blood to those things.  They bear diseases, and Dengue Fever has been found in Broward.  Last night there was a Mosquito laying eggs in the toilet. May Broward be successful.  Back in the 90s when I was here as a snowbird, I never saw a mosquito. It could also be that I tended to stay on the beach with everyone else.  No mosquitoes on the beach that I have ever seen even today.

I understand they stopped spraying around that time when the environmentalists got to ban the last effective pesticide.  If it is a choice between me and the Mosquitoes, I know who I want to win.  Dengue Fever is a nasty sickness. You don't die, normally, but you wish you had.

Maybe I'll get a bug zapper... I know they don't work against the mosquitoes... but...

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