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What Good are Mosquitoes?
August 01, 2011

The trip 'Up North' was wonderful.

Too short, but always a nice time.

I know I said I would share more on my chickadees, but I will have to do that next week instead (they are such a joy).

I might as well share a bit about this past week and do chickadees next week.

Here goes.....................

I simply love northern Michigan, and these past few days did us well.

The weather was almost ideal, Lake Michigan was in all of her glory, and the water was very nice.

The geographic beauty is what tugs at me, but the history of the region, and friends we have made over the years are just as important.

I like to travel the roads less traveled.

I am always on the lookout for something new or different.

(Pictures Shown throughout.)

An old deserted house.

An old cemetery.

Even an old church peaks my interest.

What history lies in a certain area?

Who do you suppose once called this old house their home?

The cemetery is marked by hundreds of plain white crosses with very few markers with names and dates.

The cemetery is an Indian cemetery adjacent to the church.

I understand the cemetery is still in use.

The church, 'St Ignatius' is the oldest building in the area at 178 years and still in use.

I do like history.

The B&B we always stay at is also well over 100 years old.

The 'Gingerbread House' once a boardinghouse, converted into a Bed and Breakfast.

About a 50 yard walk from the Little Traverse Bay, where I can enjoy the sights and sounds of various swallows.

Monarch butterflies flit throughout out the area.

The colors, sights and sounds of the bay are soothing to my soul.

From the porch, I relax as I watch a small sailboat cruise by.

There is also the chance of watching a Regatta.

Yes, there is plenty of shopping for Karen as well.

No matter, I cannot explain how the North Country moves my soul.

Maybe One Day............................

I enjoy sunsets and capturing a different view of a small town, especially harbor towns like the picture of Harbor Springs, MI. (across the bay from where we stay.)

(Gingerbread House.)

Gardens are reaching there peak in many ways.

Days continue to shrink and the sun beating on me is definitely different.

Thankfully, we had several inches of rain right here last week.

Up North, not a drop and it shows.

The beginning of a new month.

August, can you hardly stand it?

With a new month, comes the cleaning and sanitizing of all feeders and birdbaths.

Now understand, this could and should be done more often, but for sure at least once a month and the first part of a month is always a good habit to get into.

Always offer fresh water for all your animal friends.

If you don't offer fresh water in birdbaths,

A cap full of Chlorine beach at dusk, will keep a bird bath clean.

By morning the chlorine has oxidized and wont harm birds.

It also keeps mosquitoes from taking hold in the still and stagnant water.

As I continue the series on insects, mosquitoes are this week's topic.

I don't expect you to come away with a different opinion, but maybe a bit more enlightened.


How we complain about the insects in our yard and gardens.

I have holes in my prized plants.

Half moons are chewed right out of a new rose leaf, now what would do that?

What is chewing on my tomato plants?

What is this caterpillar I found on my fennel?

Sound familiar?

The good, the bad and the ugly.

This is nothing my friend.

What about mosquitoes.

Just once, I would like to experience a summer without mosquitoes.

You too?

Why do we need them?

I wish they never existed.

And what about the jokes?

"How is a man/woman like a mosquito?

They both suck the life blood out of you."

Is any other insect loathed more around the world?

There isn't much love lost between people and mosquitoes.

At the very least, these bloodthirsty insects are major annoyances, biting us with a persistence that can be maddening.

If insects can be credited with evil intent, mosquitoes seem determined to wipe the human race out.

As carriers of deadly diseases, mosquitoes are the deadliest insect on Earth.

Each year, millions of people die from Malaria, Dengue Fever, and Yellow Fever after being bitten by a disease-carrying mosquito.

Yes, more so than all spiders combined.

As vectors of malaria, mosquitoes indirectly cause the deaths of almost one million people each year.

According to the 'World Heath Organization', more than 240 million people suffer from the debilitating disease.

Half the world's population lives at risk of contracting malaria.

Every 30 seconds, a child dies of malaria.

Thankfully, we don't live in malaria climates, but many of us know of someone that suffers.

In recent years, we have added West Nile Virus to that list of deadly diseases.

Mosquitoes also carry other diseases that pose serious threats to livestock and pets (heartworm) and wildlife.

With all these strikes against them, can mosquitoes fulfill any useful purpose?

Well, can they?

It seems that mosquitoes have been around for quite sometime.

According to records, the oldest mosquito fossils date back to the Cretaceous period, some 200 million years ago.

Okay, but what good are mosquitoes?

Clearly, mosquitoes must fill some important ecological niche.

There has to be more to mosquitoes than ruining my cookouts or making it impossible to sit out on the deck many summer evenings.

At least I would like to have the chance to find out.

Check this out.

Mosquito larvae are aquatic insects, and as such, play an important role in the aquatic food chain.

Mosquito larvae are filter feeders that strain tiny organic particles such as unicellular algae from the water and convert them to the tissues of their own bodies.

Actually filtering and cleaning the water.

The larvae are in turn, eaten by fish and other insects like Dragonfly nymphs, Damselfly nymphs and even certain species of hoverflies.

Mosquito larvae are, nutrient-packed snacks for fish and other aquatic animals.

Which in turn feed, turtles, birds, frogs, snakes, other fish, and eventually you and me.

Of course, their role on the bottom of the food chain doesn't end at the larval stage.

As adults, mosquitoes serve as equally nutritious meals for birds, bats, and spiders, frogs, lizards and other insects.

As much as we loathe them, mosquitoes represent a considerable biomass of food for wildlife on the lower rungs of the food chain.

Their extinction, were it even possible, would have an enormous adverse affect on the entire ecosystem.

Including you and me.

(Harbor Springs.)

Okay, so mosquitoes do have a plus side, but I still don't want them in my yard.

Limit Breeding Habitat:

You can do a few things to minimize that annoying buzz in your ear.

Mosquitoes require water to breed.

Stagnant water is prime breeding territory.

Adult mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant or slow moving water, or on moist soil or leaf litter in areas likely to collect water.

By eliminating these water sources, you can keep new generations of mosquitoes at a minimum and from taking up residence in your yard.

Walk your property after a rain, and look for areas in the landscape that are not draining well.

If you find puddles that remain for four or more days, regrade the area.

Drill holes in the bottom (not the sides), of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors.

Holes on the sides still allow enough water to accumulate in the bottom for mosquitoes to breed.

Keep gutters clean and unclogged.

Be sure your downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles in the drainage area.

You may need to reroute your downspouts or add extensions to carry water away.

Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use.

Homeowners who go on vacation without chlorinating their pools may return to a veritable mosquito hatchery.

Ornamental ponds should be aerated to keep water moving and discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Alternately, stock the pond with mosquito-eating fish and encourage the good guys.

Attract Beneficial Insects (the good guys).

Dump anything that holds water twice per week if it has rained.

Birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, garbage can lids, and pottery will all attract breeding mosquitoes.

Remember to empty the saucers under your flower pots, and don't leave water in pet bowls for more than two days.

Keep your property clean of items that can hold water, including discarded aluminum cans and old tires.

Limit Adult Habitat:

Adult mosquitoes rest during the day, usually on tall weeds or other vegetation.

Make your yard less hospitable to mosquitoes by mowing your lawn regularly, and keep weeds away from your home's foundation.

It seems that our Creator knows what He is doing, even when it comes to Skeeters.


What would one season be like to be mosquito free.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."

Lao Tzu

When you let go and let God, amazing things happen.

God wants to give to you.

Abide in his word and let his word abide in you.

"Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching
everything that concerns you."

1 Peter 5:7

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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