We live in Florida. We have mosquitoes. A lot of mosquitoes.
We also have alligators.
(Come to think of it, does DynaTrap make a gator trap? Because we would totally buy that.)
As common as alligators are down here, our kids are still far more likely to get bitten by a mosquito — or many, many mosquitoes — while they play outdoors than to be accosted by a scaly, gray relic of the Cretaceous Period.
About four weeks ago, just as the calendar was changing from early summer (what you might call “spring”) to rainy season (what you might call “summer”), a large box arrived on our doorstep. It was a DynaTrap XL insect trap.
I parked it on the front porch, plugged it in, marveled at the blue light and soft whir of the fan — and waited.
It wasn’t long before the bottom pan began to fill with trapped bugs. Mosquitoes, mostly, but also moths, beetles, wasps and other pests that typically swarm to our porch light at dusk.
The trap did its job. It was quiet, safe (no chemicals) and efficient.
How did I know it was working (besides peering through the wire mesh and seeing the buggy evidence)? Well, our front door seems to be stuck on a permanent “open-close-open-close” cycle when the kids are home for the summer.
Ordinarily, each of the “opens” lets in a minimum of three mosquitoes, who are locked in by the “closes” and buzz our ears and bite us mercilessly that night while we try to binge watch the West Wing or Clone Wars or whatever we’re streaming this week on Netflix.
For the past four weeks, despite the usual open-close-open-close of it all — no mosquitoes in our house. Not one.
And? While our kids haven’t avoided mosquito bites entirely, it’s pretty clear the bites have happened in other people’s yards or while they were fishing in the pond across the street.
Our yard is no longer a haven for mosquitoes.
Which is a good thing, because mosquitoes have become more than a pest for folks in Florida this summer. Down here, we have the Aedes aegypti, which carries the Zika virus, chikungunya, and dengue.
While no cases of mosquito-borne Zika have been reported in the U.S., there have been more than a few travel-related cases reported in Florida — 199 as of June 21.
It’s not something we worry about every day. But then, my wife is not pregnant. Zika’s primary threat is the development of severe birth defects in fetuses when expectant mothers are infected. If this had happened eight years ago or 11 years ago, when we were expecting, you’d better believe we’d be even more diligent about mosquito control than we already are.
As it is, Zika causes only mild symptoms (fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes). However, it is believed to increase the potential for the development of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare sickness of the nervous system that causes paralysis and other devastating symptoms.
All of this is to say that the timing of our introduction to the DynaTrap insect trap was ideal. We have a lot more peace of mind this summer playing outdoors with DynaTrap guarding our yard.
Now, about that gator trap idea, DynaTrap …