Mosquitoes!

So, the weather has cooled off. That’s the good news.

Lows are in the 50s, highs in the 80s except for a couple of 90+ days but those are flukes, not to be repeated for many months — we hope. In the early evenings, I can now sit on the patio doing email and surfing the web via the wireless router inside the house.

And, with my CO2-powered air soft 1911, I get to take the occasional shot to annoy the raucously unpleasant grackles or the very messy pigeons. The little plastic ball gives them a good whack but they fly off otherwise unhurt. (But I did down a grackle that ventured, foolishly, much closer than usual last week.) On the other hand, the more numerous doves get a pass. They’re quite nice to look at, have a very pleasant “Who cooks for you” evening call, and also because they’re too dumb to fly off when I’m bouncing the balls off their chest. What’s the sport in that?

And so, as the evening’s brilliant orange sun begins to set behind the distant rock-strewn mountains …

[Ouch!]

I swipe at whatever bit my arm and immediately find a smear of blood and some tiny black and now very broken insect parts.

A mosquito? Here in the desert?

Yes, friends, when the weather is “right”, we have mosquitoes in the Valley of the Sun. The Sonoran desert, normally populated with Saguaro (pronounced “Sah-Wah-Ro”), Jumping Cholla (that’s “Choy-Ya”) and Prickly Pear breeds of cactus, got these flying vampires when man and irrigation arrived.

And in the very short “make more mosquitoes” season we’re in right now, they’re out for blood!

Because I’m gettin’ bit in my own backyard, that means that somewhere nearby our house is a breeding ground.

Them’s fightin’ words!

Fresh Basil from the Herb Garden for Pesto,
and Dried Bell Pepper Seeds to Plant

So yesterday I dug up one possible habitat in our yard, the drainage area beneath the wooden platform on which sit the pots of our herb garden. These plants get a daily drip and the overflow collects in a bowl-like area beneath. We’ve been concerned because it stays damp down there. But no more. It’s cleaned out and dry as of yesterday afternoon.

Bad news – no swarm of mosquitoes as it was uncovered and cleaned. That wasn’t their breeding ground.

Place number two is the backwash “dry well” for the water softener. Again, it ain’t so dry after a decade with no maintenance. So I stirred it up yesterday to see what came flying out … nothing, that’s not the mosquito nursery either. (I dumped in a bunch of insecticide nonetheless.)

That’s it for our yard. What about the neighbors?

Oh, wait. Do they read this blog?

Hmmm.

Something like “Discretion is the better part of valor,” might go here.

Time for some surreptitious peeks over the fence and, depending on what I see, perhaps a diplomatic envoy on a mission to their front door?

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