We are close to the longest night in the southern hemisphere, and yet mosquitoes still rise in unexpected numbers when I enter the courtyard off my bathroom in the morning. Not enough to disturb me in my morning shower, but more than you would expect in mid-June. I think of Amy Seidl’s wonderful book, Early Spring, in which she shares the signals of climate change from her Vermont garden and woods. I am not an ecologist like Seidl, I have only lived a few years in my home in McGregor, in South Africa’s Western Cape winelands, and I am away too much, so my observations are more anecdotal than solid. There has not been enough time for clear trends to emerge. But it does seem that the mosquito-free period in this little village at the end of the road is becoming less and less. This is definitely one of the effects of climate change I can do without.
Most Mcgregorites will not warn you upfront, but the mosquitoes are unbearable here, for more months of the year than I care to name. As Seidl points out, mosquitoes on the whole will benefit from climate change. Unfortunately this translates into added health risks in Africa, where I have seen that many countries are preparing for the expansion of malaria zones. We don’t have malaria here, and are some way south and west of the continent’s malarial areas. Fortunately. But we will have to contend with the increasing irritation of these pesky creatures. Colder climes look increasingly attractive.