Spring has officially sprung in Tainan. Trees are shedding, flowers are beginning to bloom and the colours are brightening the parks. Spring is a great season for many reasons. One is that it symbolizes rebirth. Plant and animal species are spreading their reproductive vibes; pollen for plants and an assortment of pheromones and behaviours for animals in order to select a suitable mate.
Many western countries have ‘spring cleaning’. A time when the whole family will take part in a big cleanup of the home and the yard. This means dusting away the winter dirt that built up from months without opening windows, stowing away the winter coats, pants and boots for next year, as well as the heavy blankets. Next, the family will tend to the yard, raking leaves, planting new flowers or vegetable seeds and making sure no pesky burrowing rodents have made homes in the shed or other parts of the garden.
There are a few detriments to this time of year. Many people suffer from springtime allergies. All the pollen that plants release can make a nose run like a faucet. The pollen gets into a person’s bloodstream by breathing them in, this alters the body’s immune system and it releases an all out attack to find the foreign bodies. So a little bit of pollen up one’s nose can result in weeks and weeks of sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and perhaps a slight fever. Many people take antihistamines to help the body produce less of the cells that are sent to attack the pollen.
Spring is also a time when mosquitoes reproduce, and they do it very quickly. Mosquitoes are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide and special chemicals released when we breathe. This explains why some people out of a group of friends might be bitten more by mosquitoes than others, their breath ‘smells’ good to the mosquitoes. The itchy mark that usually accompanies a mosquito bite isn’t from the bite itself but from the saliva-like liquid a mosquito leaves behind after he stabs the skin. Mosquitoes breed near bodies of water, so make sure stagnant, dirty water areas are clear of your home. Also, try not to kill spiders, the webs they spin can often trap mosquitoes and some species of spider, namely the jumping spider, actively hunt mosquitoes.
Make sure to apply mosquito spray or bring a citronella candle with you if you plan to spend time outdoors. Citronella plants also help if you rub the leaves on your skin, what’s more, aloe vera plants can help take away the itchiness and redness of a mosquito bite.
Wishing you a clean, pleasant and mosquito free spring!
A bee covered in pollen while trying to eat the flower’s nectar
A small jumping spider