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I mentioned the mosquito problem in passing in a previous article of mine, but I've been reluctant to expand upon it, mainly because I didn't want to be seen as complaining too much about our new home. But I decided to write a post on the ways in which we combat the problem, so that it doesn't seem totally negative in tone. Anyway, here goes!
Posted on Sun, Oct 7, 2007 at 14:15 IST (last updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2008 @ 22:52 IST)
Net screens on windows and doors are largely ineffective, but they are the first line of defence against swarms and swarms of mosquitoes which seem to attack with a persistence that is calculated to drive any normal reasonable human being insane. The biggest problem is that it is nearly impossible to keep all the doors closed at all time and it's difficult to secure every opening or vent in this manner. Mosquito screens also tend to accumulate a lot of dust so it becomes necessary to wash and clean them regularly.
These swatters in the shape of tennis racquets do help, but they require to be recharged regularly and they require careful handling as they are quite fragile. Aiming and hitting mosquitoes is a great pastime (and exercise), but can get tiring quickly as you need to keep swishing it rapidly to and fro to be really effective. And just when you put it down after a swatting session, you tend to find yet another critter buzzing above your head. The biggest issue with these swatters is that they're cheaply built and of poor quality, so don't last very long.
There are two types of chemical repellents which burn and release odours to drive out mosquitoes. Liquid repellents and solid repellents. Some of these are fitted on an electric device that can be plugged in to a wall socket and there are mosquito coils which burn and release a pungent aroma. They help in controlling mosquitoes within a confined space, but the room can become stuffy and suffocating very quickly. These chemical also aren't exactly healthy for human consumption either and so breathing these vapours can be harmful, particularly for people suffering from respiratory problems.
Skin creams, lotions and sprays
These creams and sprays are meant for application on exposed areas of the skin, and they are very effective at preventing these buzzing creatures from swirling above the head all the time, but are good only for a few hours at best. Moreover, skin creams tend to get wiped off on contact. And in spite of your best efforts, it is likely that you would leave just a small area of your skin free of the protective cream and mosquitoes unerringly target that region with uncanny precision.
Nets and mesh enclosures
Nets over beds are the best protection at nights, but if one or two mosquitoes do manage to get in through a small gap somewhere, they are guaranteed to ruin your sleep for the rest of the night. However, I've been able to sleep well at night only after installing a net over my bed. Not recommended in the summer (when the mosquito population is lower in any case), but in mild, cool weather it's a pleasant, and undoubtedly the best option.
Other tips to keep mosquitoes away
Keep the dark corners of your house to a minimum. Avoid accumulating a lot of stuff. Avoid black coloured or dark furniture. Allow sunlight into the house at daytime (as much as possible), keep your windows and doors closed after dark. Keep your bathrooms dry and clean and keep the bathroom doors closed all the time. Try and keep your surroundings free of stagnant water. Use a combination of the above strategies to control mosquitoes and finally hope for the best!