Posted by: Dave Neads | June 16, 2008

Toilet Paper Wars

The little guys are the worst.  Fresh from some puddle somewhere, they are hungry, fast and nasty.  Not content with one bite, they will often take two or three if they’re not yet full.  They especially like the early dawn light, say about 4:30 am these days.  The first sound you hear is the high pitched whine, like an overevved chainsaw about to explode.

Then silence and you know, in your half drowsy state, that the beast has landed.  But where?

Zing, a sharp little pain on your exposed shoulder tells the story. Slap, roll, sigh, check the bedside clock, (this time it is just 4:05), and try to head back to dreamland.  But singles are rare,  these little monsters come in threes at least.  By 4:30, sheet pulled over your head, concentrating on sleep so hard you are wide awake, it is time to get up, take a roll of toilet paper and go on the offensive.

When these little buggers settle they can be very difficult to hit, but a roll of toilet paper gives better coverage and seems to make the squashing process easier.  It also soaks up the blood when you squish one of those full ones.  Probably it was your own blood anyway, but you never know, it could have been the dog or some errant wild creature like a bear or a moose.  Best not to get too involved with some one (or something) else’s blood.

Thump, bump, swinging wildy, toe stubbed on the bedpost, air blue with purple prose, the naked human wielding the flying roll, this attack eventually wins the first skirmish of the day.  Finally, at 5 am, bloody roll sitting on the night table, wall splattered with blood to be  cleaned at a more reasonable hour, finally, back to dreamland.

The next squadron arrives about 7.  At least this is a more reasonable hour, so instead of taking the roll and going on a full search and splat mission, you just sigh, get up and put on the kettle.

This little routine lasts for two to three weeks every June.  Some years are worse than others, but you can always count on a few mornings of toilet paper warfare just before the solstice.

Maybe that’s it, the solstice, the ritual, the turning of the orb on its axis, soon to start the inevitable slide into winter, during the full throated blast of spring morphing into summer.

These squadrons of mosquitoes, zipping about so energetically, are trying to get it all done as fast as they can, before the puddles dry up and they can no longer lay their eggs.  Eggs which will lie in wait for up to several years, before they hatch into vicious little vampires, harbingers of the coming death in the height of life.


  1. I remember summer on a sailboat in Lake Winnipeg. I was the longest person on board, so I slept in the main cabin with my feet under the galley stove and sink. I was also closest to the hatch and the other boaty orifices that allowed them to find us. They have amazing homing equipment. As I exhaled carbon dioxide I created a path in the air right to my warm bloody body. As I lay in the darkness, I learned not to cower, but to become the hunter. I’d lie on my back, uncover my bare chest, and wait. I wanted them to land only on the flat upper surface of my torso. If one landed on my ear, I’d move slightly so it would take flight. I’d not flinch if one hovered over my lips causing a surprisingly cool downdraft from its delicate wings. The trick is stealth — not a hasty slap. Once, sitting in my yard with a glass of beer in my hand I was surrounded by many. I was pretty good at slapping and could sometimes kill as many as four with a blow. Here is what I observed. The slapped insect lies on the ground, its wings and legs crumpled. Minutes pass. Then the limbs reorganize, and it stands. Soon it flies off to complete its mission. I discovered that the itchy welt will not occur just because it has first inserted its nozzle to suck blood. There is no need to hurry. So, on the boat I would wait until one chose to land where I wanted. I would hear the wings stop and feel its gentle touch. Perhaps it would walk around testing my body for the perfect place to draw blood. Quietly and slowly, I’d bring my hand above the unsuspecting creature. It was important not to react as it leaned forward and I felt it penetrate my flesh. Now, when it was busy and could not easily escape, all I had to do was lower my hand, press. and then move it along my chest to remove and completely destroy the little creature. If we had sealed up the cabin, it would take about 15 minutes of hunting to bring calm to the night, and everyone could sleep.

  2. Robert:

    Quite a story, takes a fair amount of control to expose yourself and just lie there…….


  3. I’m just getting caught up on your blog Dave! You guys need one of those mosquito bats. You know, like a tennis racquet. Push the button while you swing at them in flight and ZAP! Success. At bedtime I do a routing walk around the house, looking for them on the walls, ceilings. ZAP! It’s the easiest, neatest (non bloodiest) way I know to get a good night’s sleep. Want us to get one and send it up your way? In exchange you have to come and visit us again. 😉

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