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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Based on my personal experience, mosquitos suck

Catie Clark
Posted 7/4/24

My first memories of Minnesota are populated by the swarms of mosquitos along the Blue Earth River. When I was a child, my family made many trips to visit the relatives in Minnesota, where almost all …

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Based on my personal experience, mosquitos suck


My first memories of Minnesota are populated by the swarms of mosquitos along the Blue Earth River. When I was a child, my family made many trips to visit the relatives in Minnesota, where almost all of my relatives lived when I was growing up. We would pile into the family station wagon and my parents would drive from the Connecticut coast to Blue Earth with regularity.
My memories of Blue Earth are still vivid: my uncle’s home on the edge of a corn field, the walk to the town swimming pool with my cousins, and, of course, the Green Giant statue by the pea packing plant on the edge of town.
The Blue Earth River wound its slow way to Mankato on the other side of the corn field from my uncle’s house. I can remember running inside from the backyard when I was four, crying because I was being eaten alive by the vampire bugs. They were big, too, bigger than any mosquitos I ever saw in Connecticut. They were giant-sized flying bloodsuckers matched only in size by the Green Giant himself.
I was recently reminded of my experiences with the mosquitos along the Blue Earth River while taking photos of the flooding along the South Kawishiwi River. The local branch of the Minnesota Mosquito Garden Club and Terrorist Society was out in force, looking for hapless humans and small bears to carry off and devour. My walk down an ATV trail to get to the river left me looking like I was having an attack of hives or was coming down with chicken pox.
Once I managed to regain the safety of my truck, the pain of being bitten every half second tapered off, but I was left weak from the ordeal when I got home. My husband took one look at my pale face and staggering gait and rushed me to the emergency room for a desperately needed blood transfusion to prevent hypovolemic shock. As I sit here and write, I can feel the congestion and fever coming on from what I am sure is Dengue Fever.
Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that this is a bad year for humans and a great year for the vampire bugs. I’ve lived in places with more active mosquito abatement programs, but not with more active mosquitos. The loon should get dumped as the state bird and replaced by the mosquito, though it will be difficult to pick which species of mosquito to use. Over 50 reside in Minnesota.
I’m not too keen on bug repellant. Pesticides are bad for the environment and ours up here is worth all the protection we can give it. The problem is the trade-off between protecting the local ecosystem or self-preservation. What good is protecting the Boundary Waters if the mosquitos have killed off all the people wanting to visit?
Many of the so-called natural bug repellants are derived from plants. Most of them have less of an impact on fragile environments than the nasty stuff made from industrial chemicals. Some of them even work, like clove oil and geraniol. Others, like peppermint oil or garlic juice, do not. Garlic especially has been the subject of studies showing no demonstrable repellent effect. The PubMed database of medical research hosted by the United States National Library of Medicine is full of studies on natural bug repellents. PubMed is also full of studies showing that mosquitos like people who drink beer. No, really. The science is firm on this point.
What I want to know is why more numerous and bigger mosquitos live in Minnesota than Wisconsin? With all the breweries along Lake Michigan, I would think the bugs would have moved to Milwaukee by now to chase all those beer drinkers. The answer to that question may be because of the Boundary Waters. It may be that the number of beer-drinking anglers coming here to fish is drawing more mosquitos to the local area.
Even though Prohibition was repealed 91 years ago, you could make a good case for bringing it back as an effective mosquito abatement program. It might sober up all those mosquitos drunk on anglers and convince them to move somewhere with more beer — like Canada.