[LEPS-L:7896] Mosquito tolerance or resistance:

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Thu Nov 16 18:07:20 EST 2000

I was fascinated by Ron's account of developing tolerance to mosquitos. 
I would like to point out what is possibly an opposing anecdote. 

I really don't like mosquitos.  I think they don't have any redeeming 
social significant.  I suppose something must eat them so that they 
contribute to some greater ecological "good". 

I consider a walk down the Snakebight trail in Everglades the closest 
thing to H--- (I was brought up very strictly). 

When I first went to Alaska I had heard all about the vicious mosquitos. 
Whenever we went out birdwatching with our host who had lived in Alaska 
for 15 years, he was forever swatting and batting mosquitos, and 
swelling up with each bite.  By contrast the four of us newcomers, got 
some bites, but they hardly itched and we had virtually no reaction, 
although all of us swell up profusely when bitten by mosquitos here (New 
Jersey's state bird, you know). 

I proposed that it took a while to become sensitized to mosquito bites 
and once sensitized you responded more.  Ron suggests the opposite 
happened to him.  Maybe both are true----just different mosquitoes in 
different places.  Or maybe you do both-----get more sensitive at first 
and then more resistant (with age). 

Mike Gochfeld


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