Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to avoid mosquitoes in Houston

Answer:  Schedule yourself around them.  Plan your life so that you intentionally capitalize on those significant intervals during which mosquitoes are not present in our outdoor environment.  Conversely, plan indoor and out-of-town activities for those times when you know they will be at a peak.
Hell on wings.  Screengrabbed from Wikipedia
I'm serious.  The mosquito management mistake that greater Houstonians often make is to assume that there's a way to make the mosquitoes bend to their schedule.  We humans (at least, those of us who live in western cultures) assume that we can engineer everything at will, of course. 

But in this case, folks would be better off if they could simply side-step the whole issue.  All the aerial and ground-based spraying in the world isn't going to get us where we need to be, from a quality-of-life perspective.  Our public mosquito control methods may improve the situation somewhat, but they don't make the problem go away.  Not even close. 

Let me emphasize this point in a very practical way.  Do you know what this is??
It's a photo of the sun rising over my suburban neighborhood yesterday morning (Saturday April 13, 2013). 
Why was I outside watching the sun come up yesterday instead of snoozing a weekend sleep-in?  Because several related reasons illustrate why the time to be outside is now:
  1. The weather is extraordinary.  Low humidity and highs in the 70's.  It doesn't get any better than this.  Ever.
  2. We have not yet had our first mosquito outbreak of the spring season, in part because we've been in yet another drought phase
  3. A few days ago, the League City area got about 2 inches of rain.  This was our first significant rainfall since December 2012.  What this means is that we are probably about T minus one week away from our first major mosquito swarm.  I saw the sun come up and spent about ten hours outdoors yesterday because there's an excellent chance that a repeat performance will not be possible for me next weekend due to the mosquitoes that will come. 
The next time you hear someone bitching and moaning about Houston's heat and mosquitoes, ask them what they did to capitalize on the last mosquito-free period which, in 2013, happened to have been the period between January 1 and approximately April 20 (wow - almost a four-month mosquito-free period!).  Chances are they'll reply, "Well, not much".  And you can say, "Well, there you go!!  You have to take your opportunities when they come, because they're not going to be there on demand."
Ask them, "Did you do anything with yourselves in the month of March 2013, bubbas??  Because there wasn't a single friggin' mosquito on the wing during the entire month.  And we had no bad weather, either."

Screengrab of historical treatment schedule from Galveston County Mosquito Control
This is just the essential nature of Houston.  We have, indeed, been lucky in this respect this year.  Last year, Houston Chronicle was publishing stories about how our first mosquito wave descended by the beginning of March.   Holy crap!  The beginning of March!  And here we are April 14 and there's not a single one of them in sight - not around Centerpointe, anyway.

Happy Sunday.  It looks like it's largely going to be a repeat of yesterday's splendor, weather-wise.  Enjoy the hell out of it while you still can. 
I ain't lyin'.  Here's a screengrab of Galveston County Mosquito Control's current treatment schedule.  As in, there still isn't one. 

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