The great mosquito outbreak conspiracy theory

By John Toth

Mosquitoes are swarming along the Texas Gulf Coast. I’ve never seen such an outbreak this late in the year. (Watch, by the time you read this, there won’t be a single one left.)

There is logical and scientific explanation as to why, but why bother with all that boring stuff? Here is my conspiracy theory.

For 32 years, Clute has celebrated the Great Texas Mosquito Festival. It’s three days of fun and games, with the mosquito as the theme.

In the middle of the festival stands Willie-Man-Chew, a towering inflatable mosquito that waves with his left foreleg at the crowds beneath. A “Swat Team” takes this creature all around the area before the festival as a promotional tool. Willie-Man-Chew can be seen waving next to highways and businesses, as he advertises the festival.

So, we’re having a great time each year attending this festival, while the mosquitoes are busy hatching a counter attack. They can’t fight all the hoopla in July, when the festival is held. They hide until a time when no one would suspect – well, to put it bluntly – that they’d still be alive.

We have barely had a drop of rain around here all summer, and no one expected this development. Most of us thought we were done with mosquitoes for the year. Even Willie-Man-Chew has long been deflated and stored until next July.

Then, just for one day, the skies open up, and here comes the revenge of the mosquitoes. They took over backyards and made our pets miserable, not to mention the rest of us (but pets, primarily). They own the outdoors for now, anyway, while I hide inside typing this column.

Don’t blame Willie-Man-Chew for all the humans they bite. It’s the female that goes after us. Every time you squash one of these, you are killing a mosquito mommy. Think about that. Or, better yet, just kill as many of them as you can, because we don’t stand a chance. Of the 72 types of odor receptors on the mosquito’s antennae, at least 27 are tuned to detect chemicals found in perspiration. They can smell us coming.

(Whoever came up with this bit of information must have been totally dedicated to the study of the mosquito, a skill I readily admit that I lack.)

So I propose that next year we do something at the festival to highlight some of the mosquito’s good points, just in case something is going on around here that we don’t realize or understand.

And the good points are: Mosquitoes make good food for dragonflies and fish. What else?

OK, so we’re having a problem putting a positive spin on the mosquito.

Check this out. Adult mosquitoes usually mate within a few days after emerging from the pupal (larvae) stage.

In most species, the males form large swarms, usually around dusk, and the females fly into the swarms to mate. The females got the better part of this deal.

I thought you might enjoy reading a little mosquito hanky-panky.

Back to the mosquito problem, right after a few mosquito jokes.

What has antlers and sucks blood? A moose-quito!

What is the most religious insect? A mosque-ito!

Why are mosquitos religious? They prey on you!

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that these mosquito jokes, ripped off from the Internet, “suck.”
Now, what is the conspiracy theory connection between Willie-Man-Chew and the revenge of the mosquito? I don’t know. But I do know that at the 1986 Great Texas Mosquito Festival, my oldest son, John, won the Skeeter Beaters Baby Crawling Contest.

He didn’t finish, but came the closest before stopping in the middle of the official crawling track. First prize was a trophy in the shape of a mosquito.

Just as I thought. This article has failed to tie together the festival and this late, unusual mosquito outbreak. So, nothing really has been achieved. Had I applied this concept to politics, it would have made perfect sense.

One more rip-off joke to close the column: Two mosquitoes were buzzing around when they saw a drunk.

One said to the other, “You bite him. I’m driving.”

“Sucks” again. Next week, we’ll examine the conspiracy theory concerning ants and food particles left on a bedroom floor.