If watching the World Cup isn't satisfying your love of sport, folks in Estonia have developed a game that may give you a new itch to scratch. Recently, thirty-seven brave participants gathered on a field in the city of Tartu to compete in a record-breaking mosquito-hunting championship. Not afraid to take their lumps, the competitors had 10 minutes to capture or kill as many of the winged-bloodsuckers as possible. Working individually or in teams of up to three people, the participants were allotted space on the lawn to be their hunting ground. The strategies for catching the mosquitoes were varied: some folks tried to make themselves more alluring to their prey by shedding their shirts, while others waited with open palms to pick them off in flight.
When it was all said and done, at least 400 mosquitoes were sent to that great exposed forearm in the sky. The solo winner, apparent expert mosquito-hunter Rauno Luksepp, nabbed 38 of them all by himself, while the winningest team struck down 81. According to the Tartu Postimees, the winners will be awarded with a cruise on a lake in Estonia.
The competition resulted in the breaking of a mosquito-hunting world record. In Finland, where apparently the sport has a rich history, a record of eight mosquitoes killed in two minutes was set a while back. According to Reuters, the Estonians managed to top that.
To counter critics who might object to the mosquito hunt, contest organizers insist it's all in good fun. "We do not want to use the word 'kill'," one said, hinting that insects captured alive are eligible to be counted as well. Considering that a single bat can consume 600 mosquitoes an hour, however, just goes to show that the insects have little to fear when it comes to human predators.
While the mosquito hunt will have a negligible impact the insect population, it comes at a time when the bloodsuckers continue to wreak havoc in many parts of the world. Heavier than normal rains and unseasonably high temperatures contribute to a rise in the insect's numbers--carrying with it a greater risk of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue.