I am sorry to have to do this. I realize it is not good for the image of Blue Earth or for tourism.
However, I just feel it is my duty to warn visitors to our fair city that it is not safe to venture out after dark. There is a very real danger that you will be mugged.
But, these dastardly lowlifes don't want your purse, wallet or your jewelry. They seek something much more precious.
They want your blood.
The little buggers are not brave enough to attack alone. They are traveling in large packs that seem to number in the dozens, but can swell to hundreds on a bad night. And, they have become so brazen they are even attacking folks during the daylight hours.
Residents have become fearful to leave the safety of their homes. Although, many people have reported being attacked indoors as well as outside. No one, it seems, is safe from being a victim.
Yes, I am referring to that vicious pest, the mosquito. Approximately six million of them are now calling Blue Earth their home. About half of them seem to be in my backyard.
Last week, working in the garden, I could literally sweep them off my legs, dozens at a time. Golfers report being unable to make it through a whole round without needing a blood transfusion. Doing anything outside has become a hazardous activity.
There is no such thing as sitting and relaxing on patio. Unless you enjoy constantly swatting at the little varmints.
What did we expect?
After one of the wettest Junes on record, the rivers are overflowing into backwater areas, there is standing water in ditches and farm fields and all the wetlands and ponds are back to being full.
All of that is prime mosquito breeding areas and I am sure they are procreating like crazy. I fear how many more eggs are ready to be hatched.
I am one of those people who seem to attract the 'skeeters' more than other folks. I guess they like my blood; it must be tasty.
Besides that nasty bite and itch that comes afterwards, mosquitos are also known carriers of many diseases, from West Nile to malaria.
In fact, one research group lists mosquitos as the deadliest animal on Earth; causing more human deaths each year than any other critter.
I guess the solution is to spray; douse ourselves with repellent and spray our yards with yard fog.
And, we can hope the city-wide mosquito control efforts are effective. So far they have not been.
Each year the city spends thousands of dollars on mosquito control. This year the contract is a bit open-ended. It calls for a $15,000 payment and the company has promised to do as much spraying as is needed to keep the mosquito population under control.
While the City Council had a couple of other lower bids for mosquito control, they went with the company they felt would do the best job of killing the nasty pests.
I think it is going to take a lot of applications this year. I hope they hose the town before Giant Days and again before the county fair.
As bad as the mosquitos are here, it could be worse.
Once, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, they were unbelievable.
We could hear them humming, gearing up for an attack and getting into flight formation in the woods as the sun was setting.
When they attacked, it was in waves. There was no escape.
And, they were huge. The chipmunks ran and hid in fear they could be carried off.
There was only one solution.
We used a product called "Ben's" which contained 100 percent Deet. No namby-pamby smell-nice repellent would work up there the mosquitos scoffed at our use of those products. Even Deep Woods Off only lasted for a minute or two.
We survived, but came out of the BWCA a bit swollen and anemic.
A friend of mine calls mosquitos "God's mistake."
He claims after creation God realized his error and didn't intend the mosquito to survive the Great Flood. However, two of them snuck on board the ark when Noah wasn't looking.
Too bad old Noah didn't swat them both back then. We would be much better off now.