April 24, 2009
The Associated Press is reporting on an unanticipated effect of the “housing crisis.” Mosquitoes. According to the AP, the pests are breeding like crazy in swimming pools that have been left unattended in the back yards of houses that are in foreclosure. In Phoenix, for instance, the number of unattended pools increased from around 6,000 in 2007 to 9,100 last year. If the trend continues, the number could exceed 14,000 this year. One approach to this problem is to seed the pools with “mosquito fish,” a guppy-like minnow that can thrive and reproduce in a pool while devouring the eggs and larvae of the mosquitoes.
I don’t have any sympathy for the mosquitoes. I have an allergic reaction to their stings and really can’t tolerate them. Some wags like to imply that these insects are peculiar to New Jersey, but the worst mosquito conditions I ever encountered were on Key Largo and in northern Alberta. In Alberta, we didn’t have to wait ’til sundown to be assaulted; the little buggers were active all day. We were up there in mid-summer, and we had to walk around all day with our shirts buttoned up to the neck and the sleeves pulled down over our hands. Still, mosquitoes were among the factors that drove us out of our house in Fairfield in northern New Jersey where we lived between two swamps known as the Big Piece and the Little Piece – names I’d rather not explore any further in a public forum.