When I was a little boy, my mother Susie Jowers would try to slip a little Sunday-school wisdom into my head every now and then, just to keep me on the right track. One summer day as she took a break from cleaning up the Jowers swamp and slapping mosquitoes off her arms and legs, she wound up and pitched this: “You know, son, God put everything here for a reason.”To which I smartassedly replied, “OK. Tell me the reason for mosquitoes. They bite us, suck out our blood and make us itch. What else to they do? Anything good?”At that moment, Susie quit preaching, and just stuck to slapping bugs. The mosquito question did her in.I had good reason to hate mosquitoes. Half of the Jowers property was a real enough quicksandy swamp, and we Jowerses, like it or not, were mosquito farmers. If I walked out our front door, took a right and went 50 feet, I’d be standing in ankle-deep mud. If I stood there for 50 seconds, mosquitoes would cover me up like hair on a monkey’s chest.The Burnettown townsfolk tried to thin the mosquito herds. Most summer evenings, a little truck rolled through town, shooting poison out its tail like smoke from a rocket. My buddies and I followed the truck on our bicycles, and rode along in the plume. I suspect that some of my old bike-riding pals have some neurological issues now. Maybe liver issues too. But those could be unrelated.Anyhow, I hated mosquitoes then, and I hate the little sumbitches now. I try to kill as many as I can. Usually, I can feel when one lands on me, and I smack it dead before it can stick its evil little proboscis into my skin. Sometimes, though, one will penetrate my defenses, and I’ll end up with a bite.I’ve noticed that out-of-town mosquitoes leave bigger welts than local mosquitoes. When I first moved here from South Carolina, the Tennessee mosquitoes gave me welts the size of quarters. Now I’m used to the Tennessee mosquitoes, but the bugs back home give me fits. I take every mosquito bite personally, and I hold a grudge. I want to pay back mosquitoes for all the misery they’ve caused me over the years, and I want you people to help. Now’s the time. I had to slap a couple dozen mosquitoes dead just yesterday.If you want to join me in a mosquito-killing spree, here’s what you do: wreck the mosquito habitat. Girl mosquitoes (which are the ones that bite) lay their eggs in standing water. Whenever you get rid of standing water, you get rid of mosquitoes.Ever look in a birdbath, and see little worm-like things squiggling around in the water? Well, those are baby mosquitoes. At least once a week, blast the buggy water out of your birdbath with a hose and put in fresh water.Most likely, there are lots more baby mosquitoes growing in your clogged-up gutters. Get your gutters cleaned out and make sure they’re pitched downhill so water flows to the downspouts. Check the splash blocks at the bottoms of the downspouts. A whole lot of people set splash blocks ass-backwards, with the little dam on the low end. That means water will stand—and mosquitoes will grow—in your splash blocks. Turn the splash blocks around the right way.After a rain, dump all the water out of your flowerpot saucers. If you’ve got outdoor pets, change their water bowls every day.If you’ve got old tires in your yard, get rid of them, not just because mosquitoes breed in the tires, but because a stack of yard tires is a pretty good sign that your whole life is heading down the wrong road. If you’re hoarding yard tires, you’re just one step away from getting arrested half-naked on Cops. Getting rid of the tires just might help and sure couldn’t hurt.While you’re at it, cut down any tall weeds you’ve got growing. Adult mosquitoes like to congregate in tall weeds and grass.Here’s what you don’t do: don’t buy a bug zapper. They kill a lot of bugs, but they don’t kill enough mosquitoes to make any difference. Bug zappers actually create problems. For instance, most of the bugs they kill are useful, because they eat other bugs. If that’s not enough to sour you on bug-zapping, consider this: When a really nasty bug—like a dog-poop-eating housefly—hits a bug zapper, the bug’s filthy innards get turned into an aerosol, which heads straight for your eyes, mouth or nose.I know, some of you eco-types are thinking, “Purple martins and bats! They’ll eat the mosquitoes!” Well, they will eat mosquitoes, but like bug zappers, they won’t kill enough to make much difference in the mosquito population. Mosquitoes are a tiny fraction of purple martin and bat diets. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure that the people who sell purple martin and bat houses are looking to make a buck, not kill your skeeters. If you want mosquito-eating predators in your yard, build a pond and stock it with fish. Fish eat way more mosquito larvae than birds and bats eat. If you’re lucky, spiders will build webs around your pond and snag the baby mosquitoes when they fly out of the pond.