Saturday, July 10, 2010
Rain Brings Mosquito Plague to Yucatán
These problems are the result of the incredible amount of rain we have had lately. I wrote a post the other day called, "Will It Ever Stop?" about the rain, but as I finished writing it, it did stop, so I didn't post it. The heavy downpours let up for about a day and a half.
The weather has been strange since the last week in June. That is when Alex, yet unnamed, was twirling about in the Western Caribbean, causing lots of showers to drift over our way. As the storm moved northwest, slowly, we had several days of what I might call Seattle weather, gray skies for days and days. Adding convection heating to the peninsula's already saturated ground, we were in for heavy tropical rains every afternoon.
As the first system moved through, the second tropical depression had already begun to head our way. It never took on a name, even though it almost became Bonnie as it crossed the Yucatán on its path from the southeast. Eventually TD2 (tropical depression 2) was born in the Southeastern Gulf of Mexico, just west of us, where it picked up more moisture and is currently plaguing northeastern Mexico and deep southern Texas with more rain than they need.
These storms brought with them other plagues. Some folks have blogged about them, Debi's is good...She talks about the night we had flying fornicating ants. They had it worse at their house, oddly enough, just a few blocks away, as we only found a handful of them the day after. We had more of the flying termites the night before the flying fornicating ants....the wings covered everything. But those were one time events.
The plaga began two days ago. MOSQUITOS. We have mosquitoes around year round, I won't deny that. This week I felt like I was being eaten alive and tortured. As hot and humid as it is, 100% even when it is not raining, I put on long pants and a long sleeved shirt to avoid the mossies. That didn't work. They bit right through the hammock and Bali pants and I had bites all over my ass. We have an armada of weaponry to fight mosquitoes. We usually start with the Raid Lavender Mosquito Coils. I call them Mexican incense. The locals call them 'killers'. They HELP but do not solve the problem.
On the floor I use medicated talcum powder, or whatever talc I can find during an invasion. It confuses the ants, and the only problem with this method is the floors become super slippery. And of course it looks like someone spilled flour or cocaine all over the floor and left it there. Another remedy is vinegar. For a while I had a spray bottle of vinegar on the counter, that also confuses them, and in my case drowns them. But I don't always want to smell vinegar. So I replaced it...and the spray bottle now has undiluted Ajax Expel. That kills 'em dead! So much for the ants. They didn't make the front page.
Sometimes we have to vacate and spray entire rooms with one of the two bug sprays in the center of the photo. These are also used against ant invasions, the occasional palmetto bug that flies in, or other critters that people find unacceptable. I don't think these sprays kill all the mossies, maybe they are becoming resistent to our current killers.
And on the right is the trusty spray repellent. I am not crazy about spraying that toxic crap all over me, but I can be driven to it - often enough that I want a full can sitting there at all times. I really hate being eaten alive, and it's happened to me too many times to count. We won't get into the crazy situations I was in to be eaten alive; that would take a long time. I'd rather mention that it is important to kill these mosquitoes because there is a threat of dengue fever, transmitted by these particular mosquitoes' bites. According to the Diario, in the Yucatán there have been 600 cases reported in the past couple of weeks, and 40 of those were hemorrhagic. They might not call it malaria, but it can be as deadly!
This past week someone mentioned to me that ZAP RACQUETS were available here. I think I saw one at my neighbors' house a long time ago, but I never gave it a second thought. I remember Maxine had one in Hawaii, and it worked great! When we were invaded this week, I went straight to Win Fa Chinese Restaurant, across from Santa Ana Park, an picked up two of these raquetas.
Below is a photo of me in position for a thunderstorm. Often I will sit more upright and use the time to write, but other times I just like to turn off the lights and watch the lightning in the sky. If we get a late afternoon rain worth hitting the hammock for, that is where I usually end up for the rest of the day, whether it continues to rain or not. When I tire of reading or writing I find the remote control.
Tuesday this week, the Mérida Weather Underground forecast called for a 90% chance of 59mm of rain. That is 2.32 inches. I think we got more than two inches. The photos below are the street in front of my house that USED TO flood all the time. Recently the city cleaned the drains or drilled more or new ones....they did something, and there was no River 75 for at least three weeks! But since there is no sewer system(click for a link to Mikey's sad but true story about Merida's "system"), the new drains were unable to stop flooding this week. The accumulative amounts of rainfall have been impressive.
The waves sloshed into our carport underneath the gate, but you can see some of the folks across the street took in some serious water. Everyone is used to this sight during the rainy season, but it never ceases to fascinate me. If I have to blog about the rain again, maybe I will explain the complicated system of keeping water out of the house as the sideways driving rain gushes in through tiny little openings unseen in drier times by the naked eye.....