This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
We owe scientists a lot. Only scientists are capable of asking complicated research questions for which the only answer from the less intelligent general public is "What?"
Currently, the question is, "Should we eradicate all mosquitoes from the world?"
The possibility raises important concerns, first being: What are scientists doing with all that research money we give them? Drinking? Gambling?
Of course we should kill all the mosquitoes. With the possible exception of a shady porch and a mint julep, what else would make summer better?
Apparently it takes a scientist to determine whether making a species of annoying bug extinct might negatively impact the environment. Mosquitoes could be a vital link in the world's delicate balance. We don't know.
Well, rat spit. We already know that mosquitoes are carriers of terrible disease, including encephalitis, Zika virus, dengue fever, malaria and whatever gibberish Kanye West is currently spouting.
It's true. Already there are cases of Kanorrhea breaking out in California. The symptoms are a painful itching accompanied by a god complex and an attraction to butts the size of pop-up trailers.
I am not waiting for science to figure this out. I'm taking drastic measures to protect the ones I love and care about. It's my job.
So I got a gun.
Run about and scream all you want about how this is a completely irresponsible reaction to a relatively minor threat. I don't care. I plan to shoot every mosquito I see this summer. Also every hornet, wasp, black widow and grasshopper.
You entomologists calm down. I'm not going to shoot bees or praying mantises. I like them. I even like most spiders for the simple reason they eat bugs and hopefully even some neighbor pets I don't like.
Also, I won't be shooting mosquitoes with a 12-gauge shotgun or a 30.06 rifle. That could get expensive even without going to jail.
No, the mosquito gun I got is 100 percent wife-approved. Such a thing didn't seem possible, but she didn't say anything when my daughters gave it to me for Christmas.
It's the Bug-A-Salt 2.0, manufactured by Skell, Inc., of Santa Monica, California. While the directions don't specifically mention mosquitoes, there is a lot to be said about houseflies:
"A female housefly will lay 3,000 eggs within its life span of 21 days. Fly larvae will hatch into maggots within 24 hours. Houseflies defecate every 4-5 minutes, spreading disease."
With the Bug-A-Salt gun I can shoot flies and mosquitoes out of the air from the comfort of a lawn chair. No more flailing away with a fly swatter, which actually spreads the fly's poop germs as well as its guts everywhere.
The Bug-A-Salt gun fires regular table salt in a pattern that is effective within a couple feet. There's no risk of transfer splatter from the bug.
Shooting a fly with table salt does sound rather wimpy, but consider the relative size. A grain of table salt doesn't seem all that deadly to a person, but to a hornet it would. Imagine how the rest of your day would go if you were suddenly lugging around a livestock salt block in your bowels.
There's a problem, though. Right now I don't have any bugs to hunt. There's Frank, the little black spider that lives in the ceiling fan. But he's a guard spider and personal friend, no matter what my wife thinks.
Currently, I'm in a target-poor environment. Winter has never lasted so long. But spring is just around the corner. I can feel it in my trigger finger.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.