From: Dave Hamilton
To: Curtis Johnson
Date: Aug 23 1998 3:10:48 pm
Subject: Salt
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About a message of Curtis Johnson to Dave Hamilton:

DH>> a host on house dust, which is largely dead skin and mites. I
DH>> don't know if the eat mites or not.

CJ>  The only time I've seen fleas jump on me is when I'm
CJ>  sitting still.
CJ>  I'd known that house dust was mostly those two ingredients,
CJ>  but hadn't heard that about fleas surviving on it.  I would have
CJ> thought their mouth parts were too specialized.

So would I but they can apparently survive for months in a closed
house. The only other thing there is other fleas.

CJ> Have you ever seen
CJ> the William Blake painting, "Ghost of a  Flea?"

No, sounds worth checking out.

DH>> Any idea what mosquitos eat when there are no humans? There don't
DH>> seem to be that many warm-blooded animals in the forest, and those
DH>> that are here have fur.

CJ>  IIRC, mosquitoes generally fly only a few hundred yards
CJ>  from their breeding grounds.

That's my understanding. Like other fauna, the Vancouver Island
variety tend to be different from those on the mainland. For instance,
heartworm in pets is almost unheard of here; in Ontario there was
a legal requirement to test and vaccinate. Judith tells us that
heartworm is transmitted by mosquito.

CJ> If they hang about streams and
CJ>  pools, the animals will come to them.  As for forest mammals,
CJ>  it's true that the highest concentration is in "broken forest"--
CJ> forest interrupted by glades.

We don't have that. It's a huge redwood forest with cedar and
pine covering on the ground. The only grass has been put here
and there by humans. We have deer, squirrels, raccoons, bears
and cougars.

CJ> Don't forget mice.

And mice.

CJ> Fur doesn't
CJ> necessarily stop mosquitoes.  One reason to  roam the woods with a
CJ> dog is that mosquitoes will tend to go   after the dog before you.
CJ> Humans are apparently low in their  preferred diet, but they
CJ> definitely will take what they can get.

They do. I don't know if it's my imagination or not, but it seems
like humans are displaying a lot more sensitivity to insect stings
and bites than in years past.

Last week I filled in as camp paramedic, dispensing the ADHD drugs
to little boys, and was amazed at the degree of swelling in these
young city-raised boys in reaction both to wasp stings and mosquito
bites. Antihistamines have become standard issue for *everyone* who
gets stung. About 1955, I remember the first anaphylatic death I
had heard of, and it made national news.

This week, we have 45 teens in camp, and 7 of them have a history
of anaphylaxis. (no hyperactives though... whew).

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