[LEPS-L:7898] Re: Mosquito tolerance or resistance:

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Thu Nov 16 20:56:30 EST 2000

    On one visit to the Wedge Plantation, S C (while Richard Dominick was
still alive) I was collecting out by the marsh on the Santee River when a
fairly heavy rain storm came through. I honestly think the mosquitoes came
out more with the rain. Perhaps there were more because I was the only
mammal still out in the open. I have never been attacked by so many
mosquitoes before or since. It was, as is said, one of those things where
you had to be there to get the ture impact.
    As I stated earlier, I don't react greatly to fire ant stings and very
little to Poison Ivy. This is odd because as a four year old I reacted quite
a bit to bee stings (according to mother). I did have an encounter with
Poison Sumac several years ago up in North Carolina. I was after M. hesseli
near Ft. Bragg. I needed to relieve myself and wiped with the on site
leaves. Over the next few days I began to develop a little rash. We had now
made a trip to Iowa to visit my folks and it had gotten itchy. So I went to
the Dr.there (about 5 days from contact). The sum of the story is that even
though I rubbed Sumac heartily on delicate tissue, the reaction was rather
mild. When Poison Ivy sprouts up in the yard I just pull it up bare handed.
    Perhaps I actually have toxic blood which deters mosquitoes and
neutralizes plant toxins? Hummm, now that I think of it, it is possible that
growing up in Iowa I ingested too much DDT while going after the butterflies
in the ditches on my grandparents farm. The resistance to plant toxins is
probably due to 35 years of eating my wife's cooking.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Gochfeld" <gochfeld at EOHSI.RUTGERS.EDU>
To: "Leps-l" <Leps-l at lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2000 6:07 PM
Subject: [LEPS-L:7896] Mosquito tolerance or resistance:

> 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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