Urban swamp, c.37, x60 y 62
¡¡ FIXED !! The post below went up a few days ago. Today I showed up at the gym to see this long-standing puddle emptied and dry. This has me wondering if a friend or reader maybe contacted the right desk with the city – or perhaps somebody with the city reads my blog? Whatever the case, I’m grateful. Wow! Original post:
The city has done a superb job this year controlling mosquitoes. But there is still room for improvement – witness the persistent puddle above, and many like it around town – leaking from the municipal water supply.
I know a Canadian couple who didn’t winter here this year because their experience with intense mosquito pressure last year was so great that they decided not to come. But friends have commented to me that this year has been a season of few bites. The city should be proud. (And now somebody should get busy sealing this leak!)
fossilized mosquito in amber, npr
I’ve been an organic gardener for decades. The thought of genetically modifying nature, to me, is repellant, and risky. But I’m developing some flexibility on many fronts. I’m coming to see that making a god out of nature is to make an idol. I was deeply troubled while at divinity school to be told that the word dominion from the first chapter of Genesis, meant that man was commissioned by God to trample creation! (Upon further reflection I came to see that good farmers don’t trample their land, but rather they walk over it to know it well, improving it year by year.) Well, it’s time for us to improve our ground!
It is time for humankind to exercise dominion over this pestilent creature of flying, biting, misery and death. The pesticide industry surely doesn’t want to see biting mosquitos disappear, so we must be alert to their disinformation. So be wise, knowing that “protecting” nature tempts us to allow the continued polluting with deadly toxins. And we must recognize that humankind is promoting and perpetuating this worthless species by our profligate use of plastics, according to experts in a well-reasoned article:
“[T]he growth in the population of aegypti is down to our rapid increase in plastic consumption; it provides the mosquitos with an ideal breeding ground. There is so much misinformation out there,” Lindsay says. “You see pictures of large open areas of stagnant water. But that’s not where the danger is. This thing breeds in small containers: flowerpots, gutters, tyres, water bottles. It’s about screening buildings, putting up nets, spraying insecticide in laundry areas. That’s not something for health professionals: that’s about educating and empowering communities so that they can reduce the risk themselves.”
My growing personal flexibility on the topic of genetic modification will start with agreeing to the sterilization and release of males to eliminate this deadly pest, with the added benefit of reducing the noxious load of sprayed toxins. Dominion — it’s our assignment! We need to grow!
MOSQUITO ORGY: a neglected swimming pool containing rain water and leaves in barrio Santiago.
¿What do you do with your pool while away? ¿How many Merida homeowners are allowing mosquitos to party in standing water which collects in their backyards while they travel? Last year I wrote about a biological control which can float in your untended pool, toxic only to mosquitos, introducing them to a deadly gut organism. This year, due to widespread problems afflicting humans, I decided to do more. While I was very happy with the biological product, I wanted to prevent access to the water altogether. So I contrived my own cover, seaming together pvc-mesh screen as a physical barrier. (The entire project cost me about $70-usd, not counting the galvanized pipes supporting the mesh or the flashing, which I already had, and which prices I’ve forgotten; and I still have almost a half roll of mesh left over.) Here’s the finished installation:
Our pool, partially drained and covered by a homemade screen, measuring about 4-1/2 meters by 6m.
To start, I bought a roll of 60-inch x 30 meter pvc-mesh (malla) from a larger hardware supply, and a small can (una lata pequeña) of pvc cement (pegamento) from a local plumbing supply; and then I seamed together three lengths of screen, using a roll of aluminum flashing as a work surface so the cement didn’t bond with the paint on my roof, where I did the seaming. (Smaller hardware stores often sell mesh by the meter, but the ultra wide mesh may be more difficult to locate.) I tested the bond for a week in the bright sun to be sure it would remain strong, trying two types of adhesive. Both felt equally strong, so I went with the more neutral color.
Close-up of small can of adhesive, on seamed screen mesh.
Adhesive test on two swatches of screen mesh.
Joining the first pair of three lengths of screen on my roof — pool in top of photo.
Of course, there are other places for mosquitos to party, so we each need to do our part:
A favorite breeding area may be in a nearby yard, guarded by ferocious beasts.