Flying Disease Infested Vampires

I found this story by Christian DeBenedetti about his river barge encounter with mosquitoes en route to India to be amusing and it started me wandering. Why is it that mosquitoes seem to know you are a visitor and not a local and then proceed to bite you incessantly? What do the locals know that we do not and can they let us in on it?

“The insects themselves were unimpressive. I’d expected them to be as big as crocodiles… Of course, size doesn’t matter if you’re packing malaria, dengue fever or Japanese encephalitis.”

I always attract these flying disease-infested vampires on my trips. It is as if I have been dipped in honey and rolled in granulated sugar from head to toe. Especially on safari, along with their trusty sidekicks, the no-see-um flies. It feels like they ignore the locals and feed on the travelers as if we were some sacrifice to the insect gods. I know these little blood suckers do not have the mental capacity to discriminate areas of our bodies, but it always appears like they know exactly where the ears are and head straight for them while we are trying to sleep.

I can sympathize with Christian and I feel secure in knowing that I live in a disease-free mosquito area, but I am still packing plenty of the insect repellent spray and lotion when I travel.

-Angelique

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