Growing up on a farm, I pretty much figured out how to tell which animals are female and which are male.
It's typically important to know because of differences in whether you want them to maintain reproductive activity - say, in the case of dairy cows - or whether you want to curb their aggression, as with male hogs.
But will someone please explain to me why I need to know whether mosquitoes are male or female?
The county has deluged us with mosquito information during the past couple of weeks, mostly as a defense measure. Not against mosquitoes, but against the nagging recurrence of requests for insecticide fogging trucks.
This swarm of information came in response to some Evans residents who signed a petition asking the county to consider fogging for mosquitoes, among other things. Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker, who's ridden in this rodeo before, already knew that fogging is far less effective than the county's current method of mosquito control that involves putting larvacide directly in pools where the bloodsuckers breed. (And, no, I'm not talking about Congress.)
Just to cover all the bases, though, Tucker put together some facts for county commissioners to consider - including the estimated $145,000 cost for starting a fogging program. That's a lot more expensive than the current $3,000 to $5,000 the county spends for larvacide.
Tucker also provided an overkill-level of information on mosquitoes, mosquito-born illnesses and mosquito control methods.
In the midst of all this, the insect information offers that "only female mosqitoes bite."
I think that's supposed to make us feel better. But I wonder: When I see a mosquito buzzing around my head, is there some tell-tale sign I can look for so I can say, "Hey, that's a boy mosquito! Nothing to worry about!"
It's pretty obvious which cows are male or female, and there are good reasons to know the difference - especially, for example, on a dairy. But unless someone is suggesting we start milking mosquitoes, I doubt there's much reason for us to care which ones are girls.
Meanwhile, I hope this newest effort at public education puts to rest for good the idea of mosquito "fogging," though in a county that continues to grow like ours, people tend to forget when there are issues we've already swatted away long ago.
Try that with a PC
Speaking of swatting, faithful reader Chris Noah tells me he took B.J. Wood's Wednesday cartoon to heart, using the rolled-up News-Times to smash a bug that made his wife squeak.
We've heard lots of doom and gloom lately about newspapers, and claims that the Internet will put us out of business. But the next time a roach gets in your house, just try whacking it with a laptop.
For that matter, the next time in rains, see if you can stay dry by holding a television over your head. (Yeah, yeah, I've got the bird-cage-liners and fish-wrappers, too. Not new, not funny.)
Your newspaper: Informative and useful.
A big night ahead
Put this date on your calendar: Sept. 4.
Now clear everything off of it.
That night will see so much local history being made that we won't be able to handle it all.
The Virginia Tech Marching Band will come to Lakeside High School to play before the football game and during halftime to raise money for the Ryan Clark Scholarship Fund.
Clark graduated from Lakeside and was set to graduate from Virginia Tech when he was gunned down in the campus shooting spree two years ago. He played in the bands at both schools, so this is the ultimate tribute.
Also that night, Grovetown High School will hold its first home football game. They'll play Langston Hughes High School, a first-year school from south Fulton County.
Incidentally, Langston Hughes High School is, of course, named after the writer and poet who was part of the Harlem Renaissance. Grovetown High will be populated with many students who once attended Harlem High School, and the city of Grovetown once was home to Paul Hamilton Hayne, the "poet laureate of the South."
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail email@example.com.)
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