It’s the time of year when flies make robo calls seem like pleasant interludes.
Annoying doesn’t begin to describe how they become as the days become cooler and the nights take on a distinctive chill.
Worse yet, even the common house fly seems to get larger buzzing you with as much subtlety as a jumbo jet taking off.
Manteca’s abundance of flies at specific times of the year doesn’t go unnoticed by visitors. Much of it has to do with the factor we are in a rich agricultural region complete with dairies and crop remnants that have yet to be plowed under.
Flies, though, are a lot less annoying than mosquitoes. Having been raised on the edge of rice country with plenty of clay in the soil that substantially multiplies long-lasting puddles of rainwater that creates natural breeding grounds for mosquitoes, I’ll take Manteca’s flies any day of the week.
That said, they are still annoying. And now that cooler days are here they are actively seeking shelter inside buildings.
Flies and mosquitoes are just more than mere pests for most people on the planet. They are a dreaded source of diseases running the gamut from malaria to yellow fever and sleeping sickness.
Those diseases aren’t a major concern in this country due to the thing we all like to bash: Big government.
It was a centralized government that established sanitation standards and then imposed taxes and fees to fund everything from wastewater treatment plants complete with pipe collection systems to sanitary landfills. The same is true for domestic waste that is virtually devoid of deadly parasites due to a public works system for water, sewer, and garbage collection and disposal that is unparalleled on earth.
If you think that’s no big deal consider this: The Center for Disease Control credits clean water, sanitary sewer, and proper garbage disposal as a prime reason why life expectancy has soared in the United States. It has gone from 48.2 years for someone born in 1900 to 77.7 years for someone born today.
We might take the ability to flush our toilets, turn on the water tap, or put a Toter at curbside for granted but they are key reasons why we’re all walking around earth these days 30 years longer on average.
There are other government undertakings from crop research to dam projects that are also key factors in extending life expectancy and enhancing the quality of life. Among them is the San Joaquin County Vector Control District. It is why mosquito-borne diseases despite being on the edge of the Delta as well as in a agricultural area with heavy waste use are virtually non-existent.
Property owners pay what is essentially a tax each year to assure good health. The mosquito abatement and vector control effort costs a typical Manteca property taxpayer $10.11 annually out of every $1,000 in property tax they pay.
Without the tax, mosquitoes would be as annoying as flies in Manteca.
And the odds are overwhelming that they’d be a lot of people getting sick from diseases carried by mosquitoes.
Vector control is a solid example of why prevention is by far the least expensive and most cost effective way of staying healthy.