Bite-size 'Mosquito Book' abuzz with buggy facts BY THE NUMBERS

May 31, 1998|By Ameer Benno and Stacy Patton

A quick mosquito survival quiz:

Q. Do all mosquitoes suck blood?

A. No -- only those who become personal injury attorneys.

Q. How do mosquito-repelling devices work?

A. They play songs by Yanni, John Tesh and the Spice Girls.

In this summer of El Nino, the hordes of mosquitoes swarming around us are no laughing matter. But there are a few laughs -- and some useful information about the pests -- in "The Mosquito Book" (Dennoch Press, $6.95), an aptly timed little volume from the author of "The Duct Tape Book" and "The WD-40 Book."

For instance:

Mosquitoes have been around for 200 million years.

On any given day, there are an estimated 100 trillion mosquitoes out there, representing 3,450 different species (the United States hosts just 170 species; Canada has roughly 70 more).

In summer, the average mosquito's life span is two weeks. Mosquito eggs, though, can lie dormant for up to seven years before hatching.

In fact, only female mosquitoes bite; blood is a source of protein for their eggs.

The book also offers some simple techniques for preventing back-yard mosquito breeding: Keep your grass short and shrubbery well-trimmed; empty wading pools and store them indoors when not in use; change water in bird baths and plant pots often; repair any leaky hoses, faucets or pipes. And plant chrysanthemums: they contain pyrethrum, a natural repellent.

Author Tony Dierckins offers an additional warning for any readers who might get too caught up in "The Mosquito Book":

"It would take 1,120,000 mosquito bites to drain the blood from the average adult human. Half of that is 560,000. People should keep a mental note of that number. Once they reach 500,000, they should go inside."

Failing that, the palm-sized book is the perfect shape for swatting.

Pub Date: 5/31/98

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