Every once in a while, I like to skim though the articles on Mental Floss, “Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix.” It has interesting articles filled with humor and facts that will hardly ever be of any importance in your life, but may help you win at Trivial Pursuit someday.
Today, however, I stumbled over an article that at first I thought had no business being written. “In Defense of the Mosquito: 10 Things to Know About Summer’s Biggest Annoyance” listed some little-known facts about the mosquito, including that they are excellent bad-weather flyers, they are great hunters, some types play important ecological roles, and (something I’ve always suspected) they are picky – they do actually prefer to bite some people over others.
To me, the most pertinent fact was #2: “Over 3,000 species of mosquitoes have been described around the world. At least 150 of those are found in the United States, and 85 of those call Texas home, which makes the Lone Star State the mosquito capital of the USA.”
Yeah, no kidding. And the epicenter is my backyard. The horrible little beasts are everywhere, all year, at any time of day. Yesterday I went out on my back deck with my dogs at around 6 pm, after it had cooled down a little. Within roughly a quarter of a second, every mosquito within a 10-mile radius had honed in on me. This, in spite of about a million birds and bats in my neighborhood.
So, what does all of this have to do with knowledge translation? Well, as far as I know, no one likes mosquitoes. But the article served to impart some knowledge – memorably and in an entertaining way – about a creature that is often thought of as no more than a pest and a disease-spreader. Like most things on earth, they have a role to play. And until I read that article, I thought it was only to make me miserable. Now I know better. But I’ll still kill every single one I can.