Science quiz: Guess the most deadly animal in the world.
We'll even give you a hint: It's also one of the most annoying.
(And no, it's not your ex.)
It's the mosquito, which kills more people worldwide than any other beast, according to the American Academy of Entomological Sciences. More than a million people die every year from mosquito-borne illnesses, including malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, encephalitis, yellow fever and heartworm in dogs, the AAES says.
So it's more than just an annoyance when you have to live next door to a swimming pool that isn't being properly attended.
Such is the case with a Frustrated Reader we'll call Doc, who called last week as the spokesman for several neighbors in the Fox Chapel subdivision. They're fed up with a vacant, foreclosed house on Fox Chapel Drive that has what is in effect a mosquito factory in the backyard.
Doc says he has called the city, and they came out and sprayed the pool and the shrubbery, but it didn't do much good.
One problem is that not only is the property in foreclosure, but it's also a Veterans Administration foreclosure, so the house pretty much is the property of the federal government, and we all know how much of a (beep) the federal government gives.
Ironically, Doc is a Vietnam veteran (Special Forces), so you'd think the VA would take better care of the pool next to his house. But that's apparently below their pay grade.
So I called Drale Short, who manages special enforcement for the city. She said they had sent an inspector out and had sprayed the pool with larvicide, which keeps the little suckers from reproducing for about a month.
Short said they last sprayed the pool and yard on May 29, so it's due for another dose. She said she would send a crew back out next week.
Doc says that fine, but it doesn't really do much good.
"I think it just chased them over into my yard," he joked.
Doc says between the mosquitoes and the smell of the pool, he and his family can't sit out and enjoy their backyard. I will attest to that because I got bitten by four of the buggers while taking the accompanying picture.
But spraying is all the city can do, Short said. They used to drain such pools, but about five years ago, they figured out they were wasting a lot of money because the pools would soon have standing rainwater in them and the mosquitoes would be back.
"We were draining some pools three times in one summer," Short said. And it's a lot cheaper to spray than to drain.
So that's about all we can do for now, except maybe tell people there's a good deal on a house over on Fox Chapel Drive: 2,500 square feet, four bedrooms, three baths, a covered deck and patio overlooking the pool, which needs some attention. The listing says $130,000, but Doc told me they've come down from that a little.
Call John Daniel at Broadmoor Realty and make him an offer.
Then clean up your pool.
-- Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or firstname.lastname@example.org.