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Don't Be Afraid of Male Wasps

Don't Be Afraid of Male WaspsA Vespa is a luxury motor scooter made in Italy and was considered to be the bee's knees in the 1950s and beyond.  Which reminds me is that 'vespa' is the Italian word for wasp.

 An animal behaviourist who studied the male wasp found... absolutely no behaviour at all.  "The male wasp is a nonentity," he wrote, unaware of how WASPs would come to dominate American society.

"Wasps are relatively harmless, unlike vectors," said one vespologist, who obviously hadn't been stung by a wasp lately.  It seems a vector is a biting insect that transmits diseases from one animal to another.  And of course human beings are animals, although we try to pretend otherwise by shaving or wearing makeup, usually depending on the face we see in our mirror.

The coronavirus is currently taking centre stage in our tragedy, hogging all the limelight, but other villains are waiting in the wings, and lots of them have wings.  Some viruses have hijacked mosquitoes in order to survive.  The female Asian Tiger mosquitoes, which until recently preferred tropical climates, are now en route to the Netherlands, perhaps attracted by the more tolerant lifestyle to be found there.  Or perhaps thinking of that lovely stagnant water in Amsterdam canals.  Let's hope the girls are only on a mini-break.

David AitkenMost of us have probably heard the characteristic whine of female mozzies outside our tent at some time or other, and even dinosaurs were plagued by them a hundred million years ago.  Was that perhaps why dinosaurs became extinct?  Some naturalists claim that mosquito-transmitted illnesses have killed nearly half of all the humans who ever lived, or at least those without mosquito netting draped around their beds. (I'm safe. Are you?)  

With uncanny intuition, most vector biting insects seem to have worked out that humans are easy targets, and that beaches are good places to find them immoble and displaying uncovered acres of skin.  Ancient Greek fables including 'The Elephant and the Mosquito' and 'The Bull and the Mosquito', taught the lesson that large creatures ignore small ones at their peril -- as many gunfighters discovered when they drew against Billy the Kid.

Only light can move at the speed of light, but alpha vectors like mosquitoes get close, something you should never let them do to you.  Even a swarm of midges in the Scottish Highlands takes evasive action when a squadron of mosquitoes comes over the horizon.  I am a man whose feathers are seldom ruffled, but I am usually streets ahead of the midges by then, possibly even exceeding the speed of light, and that's without my Vespa.

It is a pity we have not yet developed products to repel and otherwise make Covid desist.  Saying "Shoo!" or "Boo!" to a virus doesn't work, believe me, I've tried it.  Perhaps each side could choose a champion, as fair maidens used to do in jousting tournaments.  Female Tiger Mosquito versus Virus?  Loser drops dead?  I'd put my money on the mozzie, if I thought that would help, and if I had any money.  Not that I spend much time outside, I'm more of a male wasp these days - absolutely no behaviour at all. 

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