Mosquitoes

mosquitoMosquitoes are insects belonging to the fly family. Like all true flies, they have two wings. There are over 3500 species of mosquitoes, of which about 175 of them are found in the United States. Only female mosquitoes bite people. Both male and female feed on fruit and plant nectar, but the female also needs the protein in blood to help her eggs develop. Once she’s had her fill of blood, she’ll rest a couple of days before laying her eggs. She can lay up to 300 eggs at a time and they can hatch in as little as an inch of standing water. Mosquitoes can’t fly very far or very fast, and most stay within several hundred feet of where they were hatched.  Mosquitoes can smell human breath, and body heat marks the target. The warmth of your body – the blood inside – can determine where they land on you. Some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malaria, yellow fever,  and West Nile virus, and are considered the deadliest “animal” in the world, killing more than one million people (mostly in Africa) of malaria.

Those are your mosquito facts for the summer! When I think of the mosquito, it brings to my mind three different situations I’ve experienced. The first situation was during the summer of 2002. I had the opportunity to travel to Tanacross, Alaska, on a mission trip. In the small Alaskan village we taught Vacation Bible School for a week to the younger kids. It was a great experience and good trip…..except for the massive, bird-like mosquitoes that would implant their bloodsucking fangs, or whatever they’re called, into your body, draining from you at least a pint of blood. OK, maybe not that much, but you catch my drift.

We were staying in a house throughout the week. The house did have indoor plumbing, but they also had an outhouse. Out of respect to everyone in the house, I decided to go outside to do my business. Big Mistake! Upon entering the outhouse the mosquitoes attacked me with full force. It’s like they knew I was coming. Fortunately, I brought my bug spray, so I counterattacked them with 100% deet. After massacring hundreds of the pesky insects, I proceeded to finish what I came in there for. Unfortunately, no one told me to spray the inside of the hole as well. While I was sitting there, the mosquitoes re-counterattacked me, biting me on the rear end a numerous amount of times, making is as red as a tomato. Let me tell you….it did not sit well with me! HA! The rest of the trip I had a severe case of IBS (Itchy Butt Syndrome)! That was the first and last time I entered that outhouse.

The second situation wasn’t quite as bad. During the summers of 2010 and 2011, I chaperoned and led five-day canoe trips on the Boundary Waters between Minnesota and Canada. These were some amazing trips on the water as we were camping, portaging and enjoying God’s scenery and wildlife. At night, however, we had to plan our evening activities according to the schedule of the mosquitoes. Yes, you laugh, but it’s true. Around 8pm every evening as the sun was starting to set, a thick black cloud would start forming about 30 feet over our heads. A high-pitched humming sound could faintly be made out. Those were the mosquitoes looking for some dinner. Once the cloud was formed, we had about thirty minutes before the cloud would slowly come down and invade our campsite, engulfing us in mosquito hell. We had to be inside our tents and made sure our food and gear were hanging from a tree (there were bears in the area) before the mosquitoes would attack us. This made for a short evening enjoying our time together, but most of us were tired from canoeing all day anyway. Once inside the tent, we had to make sure every mosquito was killed inside before falling asleep, or we would be covered with bites in the morning. We got used to the humming all night, and by sunrise, the mosquitoes were all gone.

My third and final situation is here in prison. I don’t know if it is just Texas, but the mosquitoes here are very bad. The compound already sprayed once which took care of a lot of them. But they reproduced and came back double. Because I live in an older building that does not have air conditioning, the high power fans are on and windows are open 24 hours a day. And because it is an old building, that means the windows are old. In fact, they are still the original windows used in this building which was a POW camp during World War II. The windows are not in good shape and there are holes in the screens. So that means the mosquitoes love to throw a party in our unit. Every night you can hear clapping throughout the entire building….. trying to kill the inserts. In our room, the walls are covered with mosquito remains and blood. I guess it’s one way to paint the walls! The rule in our room is that before going to bed, we must each kill ten mosquitoes. We’ve turned it into a game – the fastest to ten kills is the winner. It sounds like a video game, doesn’t it? Of course, there is no prize, but we survive, we all get our sleep, and all is well.

So the big question is…..why did God create mosquitoes? What good are mosquitoes here on earth? What purpose do they serve? We know they torment us and annoy us, but is there any other reason for their existence? I suppose from the mosquitoes’ point of view, their purpose is to make more mosquitoes. And from the point of view of birds, fishes, frogs and other animals that eat them, their purpose it to provide a source of food.  Believe it or not, everything in this world, everything God created, both plant and animal serve a very valuable purpose. Food chains would collapse without mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are here to feed other animals; mosquitoes are also here to help pollinate plants just as bees do. Mosquitoes bite and bees sting. And yet God created them. It says in Genesis that God saw everything that He created as good….which includes pesty mosquitoes. We see mosquitoes as a nuisance, and yet God says they are good. We sometimes see other people as annoying, and yet God sees them as good. See, He created everything good. But because of sin in the world, our world is a mess. We live with disease, insults, crime, divorce, death….and even mosquitoes. Just as we can try our best to keep sin out of our lives, we can try to keep mosquitoes away. Some things work better than others for both sin and mosquitoes. Our goal is just to keep at it……in order to make our lives more comfortable! Have a great summer!

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