Weekly Obsession: Apocalypse II: Mosquitocalypse

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 10:05pm

Just as the pollen count settles down — rather than the lung-clogging 390, it’s hovering in the merely throat-blocking 250s — another aftershock of the warm winter is rearing its head.

Mosquitoes started swarming the Music City even before it was acceptable to wear seersucker and white shoes, an alarmingly — and impolitely — early arrival for summer’s buzzing biters.

Hyperbolic Nashvillians are already describing mosquitoes as big as sparrows threatening to carry away small pets and toddlers. Enterprising folks are claiming some of the larger members of Anopheles quadrimaculatus as dependents for tax purposes.

In seriousness, the Metro Health Department is readying for the months-long siege of backyards already.

“It’s been a very mild winter, and with high temperatures and high moisture, that’s very conducive for mosquito activities,” Dr. Sanmi Areola said.

The department has begun larvicide operations, hoping to stanch the population before there are too many mosquitoes of legal drinking age infesting our fair city.

Population tracking operations will start in early May — traps will be set and the bugs examined and tested for West Nile virus.

“If it’s just a high infestation, even if it’s uncomfortable, we won’t apply pesticides unless there is a public health threat,” Areola said.

That’s right. You can be covered hairline to toenail in splotchy red bites, tackling your neighbors for the last bottle of calamine lotion in the drugstore aisle, bathing in bug spray, but unless the mosquitoes are carrying diseases, there will be no full-on assault from the powers-that-be.

Areola said there’s plenty to be done at home that can keep the mosquitoes out of your hair (and everything else). Mow the lawn, control standing water and store anything that can hold water upside down.

Even a bottle cap can hold enough water to support “hundreds” of mosquito larvae.

Not that you’ll be drinking outside anyway.