Pharos-Tribune

August 9, 2013

WOLFSIE: Please don't bug me


Pharos-Tribune

---- — It was one of those Internet headlines that you think might be a joke: “Mosquitoes prefer beer drinkers”

My initial reaction was to brush it off, just like I do the little pests at picnics and the state fair. The article had already gone viral. My guess is that good old boys in places like Pine Bluff, Ark., got the bad news while standing around their favorite watering hole where, unfortunately, there is a lot of standing water. The guys were probably a little red-faced that they had never figured out this beer/mosquito connection. Of course, they were also red-faced before they found out about this beer/mosquito connection.

The piece is filled with data that establishes a profile for those people most likely to be bitten. For example, one scientist notes: “Pregnant women are hit on more than men.” This, by the way, is always a hot topic at ladies’ night at the Pine Bluff Bar and Laundromat.

Much of this research was sponsored by the American Mosquito Control Association, whose motto includes: “We are dedicated to education … that results in the total suppression of mosquitoes.” Generally, I’m against any kind of suppression, but even a liberal like me can suck it up and admit this is all-out war. And it won’t be bloodless.

The investigations were performed on hundreds of idealistic young volunteers. What was the incentive for their participation? Lots of free booze and an itch to do something for the betterment of mankind.

The research says that when a mosquito dines on a person who has enjoyed a few brews, the insect gets a little tipsy herself (male mosquitoes don’t bite). Scientists have an instrument called an inebriometer that can measure how much alcohol the bug has ingested. No doubt, Indiana soon will be training our state troopers (those with tiny hands) to administer this test.

What else have scientists learned? Professor Robert Van Pire (not his real name) at a nearby Midwest university sat in a mosquito-filled lab in his underwear to determine which parts of his body were most likely to be targeted. His feet were first, even edging out a petri dish with limburger cheese. Entomologists around the world admired the professor’s dedication to the problem of insect bites, but ol’ Dr. Bob actually teaches American Literature and this was the third time he was caught on campus in his boxers claiming it was research.

What other factors make you susceptible to a mosquito bite? Black clothing, for example, increases the chance of being a victim about 35 percent. And when the moon is full, you are 25 percent more likely to be bitten. This is another reason not to flash people from your car window, especially at dusk when mosquitoes are looking for some action and can’t tell one moon from another.

You are also more likely to be bitten if you are exercising than when you are at rest because you are sweating. So to sum it up: avoid running during a full moon (dressed all in black) after downing four or five beers. Those are some good tips to prevent attacks by skeeters.

I have another idea. But I am warning you, it is repellent.

Dick Wolfsie is a television news reporter, syndicated humor columnist and author. He can be reached at Wolfsie@aol.com.