They have one in the lab. They call him “Buzzy”.

September 6, 2013

For most of us mosquito season is coming to an end, but, taking a cue from the car and fashion industries which live in a perpetual state six months ahead of the rest of the world, scientists are currently working on ways to deal with next spring’s mosquitoes. Taking a spoonful of vinegar remains a popular folk remedy which scientists continue to test. While traditionally it’s been taken orally they’re experimenting with other orifices. Also some repellent companies already offer a fan that can be clipped to the belt or hem of one’s shorts which continually sprays a cloud of low level repellent.

Since this has been found to only be effective as long as the wearer remains absolutely still scientists are experimenting with a hat that will spray repellent in all directions. Unfortunately problems have been encountered with these hats, and wearers are advised to avoid lit candles, grills, fire pits, and internal combustion engines. Scientists are also working on genetically modified mosquitoes. So far they haven’t had any luck with making mosquitoes less aggressive, but they have produced a strain that is the size of a small dog, making it both easier to track and manage and an ideal house pet. Owners of pet mosquitoes are advised to keep them well-fed and lock them up at night, since problems with nocturnal exsanguination have been reported.

There are also those who prefer strictly natural means of pest control, and for them scientists recommend talking constantly about football, since only female mosquitoes bite, and the majority of them seem to be either repelled or simply bored by football. The big trend scientists have predicted for next spring, though, is going retro. Yes, the old classic DDT will be making a comeback, bigger and better than ever. Previously one of the biggest problems with DDT was that mosquitoes became resistant to it, but scientists hope that, having been out of fashion for several seasons, DDT will once again prove to be effective, at least in the short term. And in an effort to improve its effectiveness new ways of using DDT are being studied. While traditionally DDT was simply sprayed scientists believe that it can be made even more effective if people bathe in it, sprinkle it on ice cream, and they’re working on a whole line of DDT cocktails. DDT also caused serious environmental problems, but until malaria becomes fashionable (which is expected to happen sometime in the fall of 2016) scientists will use any means available for fighting mosquitoes. They are aware that one of the biggest tragedies resulting from earlier DDT use was a serious decline in the bald eagle population, but there’s a hope that through prolonged use a new strain of bald eagles will emerge that will be both stronger and can act as a flying mosquito repellent. Of course at some point a choice may have to be made, and having to choose between bald eagles and mosquitoes really sucks.

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