Ticks and mosquitos are two creatures I deal with just about every day in the summer months. I wrote this last July after being attacked by mosquitos while I was doing a tick check on Dooley.
I don’t love ticks, but I do appreciate them. I like their passive approach to blood sucking and admire their patience and methodical work ethic. Ticks don’t fly or jump or seek you out, they just sit patiently on a leaf until you walk by. They quietly hook on and then take their time traveling upwards until they find a nice out of the way spot to settle. They are slow moving and pretty easy to spot before they bite and they don’t tickle your hairs as they move. When a tick finally does bite it has the decency to secrete an analgesic which prevents you from feeling any pain. They only carry a few of harmful diseases and the potentially dangerous pathogens don’t appear in the first 24 hours so there is plenty of time to find and remove a tick before any damage is done. They are also good indicators for scientists of a healthy ecosystem. Lots of ticks means lots of acorns, lots of deer, mice, rabbits, etc. Other scientists are testing tick salivary protein to help allergic asthma patients. Brad Paisley even wrote a love song about them:
“I'd like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you baby way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks
I'd sure like to check you for ticks”
I don’t enjoy killing ticks. I’d much rather pluck them off and flick them away before they have time to attach. Once attached, however, there isn’t much choice. Sorry ticks.
On the other hand, I am a remorseless killer of mosquitos. They are soulless demons which often ruin my otherwise pleasant summer evenings. The goal of the mosquito is the same as the tick, acquiring blood necessary for reproduction, but their approach is completely different. They have wings and actively hunt you down no matter where you are. They attack in packs leaving multiple wounds on their hosts. Before they attack they buzz around your ears just to piss you off. When they bite it stings and then itches afterwards. They can bite through socks and shirt sleeves and they are not ashamed to bite you anywhere from the top of your head to the souls of your feet. Fighting back means you have to slap yourself repeatedly which is painful and humiliating at the same time. They can carry a whole passel of diseases and can infect you almost immediately. Mosquito diseases include protozoan diseases, i.e., malaria, filarial diseases such as dog heartworm, and viruses such as dengue, encephalitis and yellow fever and are the leading cause of death in many parts of the world. There is absolutely nothing to appreciate about mosquitos.
Most importantly, there has never been a love song written about mosquitos by Brad Paisley.