Murdering Mosquitoes

Brits suffering from these pests can take comfort they’re avoiding the predatory swarms found in warmer climes.

Britain is experiencing a plague of mosquitoes after a population explosion caused by the summer’s heavy rain and recent warm weather, experts revealed yesterday…

During the first 12 days of August, the (National Health) service handled 1,491 telephone calls, a rise of 28 per cent on the 1,157 inquiries received in the same period last year. Advice on mosquitoes was also sought by 2,076 callers in July.

Now we’ve left London, the weather has reverted to type – cloudy and 63 degrees.

But here in the Southern med, it’s a nice 90 degrees and cloudless. However our local mosquitoes love this too, so here’s how we manage:

From 6 PM to 8 AM, we protect the inside of the house with small Italian gadgets that plug into power outlets and emit fumes claimed to be (only) toxic for mosquitoes. We back that up by sleeping under ceiling fans, which mess up mosquito aerodynamics (and prevent us boiling).

For our nightly al fresco dinners in our courtyard, I carry out a Silent Spring assault:

– 30 minutes before dining, hit the entire courtyard with industrial strength Raid. This gets the mosquitoes’ attention.

– At zero minus 15 minutes (when the Raid has dispersed enough to allow brief forays into the courtyard), light an anti-mosquito spiral under the dining table. They don’t like this.

– At zero minus 10 minutes (when smoke from coil has declined to tolerable levels) light Citronella candle and place on dining table. This deters all but the suicide bombers.

– At zero minus 5 minutes apply Deep Woods Off onto all exposed areas of my skin. Mrs G doesn’t need this on account of her swarthy Mediterranean skin being hard for Mosquitoes to bite. Plus the biters are females, and I suspect a degree of gender solidarity. This stops everything, and has the bonus of irritating any Green visitors.

The program works pretty well, although our neighbors have gone oddly quiet.

When last in Italy we were protected by an Insectivoro. This gadget attracts mosquitoes with a UV-A light, sucks them into a net, and leaves them to die (horribly, one hopes) of dehydration. I’m not sure of the science, but it provides the exquisite pleasure of sliding out the net each morning to remove a 1/2 inch layer of dead mosquitoes.

When we lived in Virginia, home to a large percentage of the world’s Gandalf-biting creatures, I tried a Mosquito Magnet, which had better science (it emits CO2, which mosquitoes home on), but could nor get its propane-to-CO2 converter to work reliably.

In spite of all my defensive measures here, about one mosquito gets through to bite me every other day. And, following Darwinian principles, the ones that get through are the biggest, inflicting large bites.

So 63 degrees and cloud isn’t all bad.


6 Responses to Murdering Mosquitoes

  1. Jay says:

    I’d never thought the UK had a mosquito problem, but I remember those mosquito pills in Italy. Never thought about what the fumes did to me, didn’t care, the only alternative against the beasts was a .410 – they reminded me of my childhood in Minnesota where the mosquito is the state bird*.

    *South Dakota joke – they made fun of our state bird, we made fun of their state tree – the telephone pole.

  2. dearieme says:

    I didn’t mind the mossies when we lived in Oz because they attacked dearieshe. But the sandflies in NZ are ruthless bastards – they attacked me.

  3. gandalf says:


    Excellent. Ss for MN, I was once almost plucked bodily from Hennepin bridge in Mpls by an enraged herd of the local mosquitoes.

  4. gandalf says:


    I keep meaning to publish a small book showing how Manet might have painted Le Dejeuner sur l’herb in different climates.

    Sounds like in Australia, the chaps would be the same, but the ladies would be rushing about screaming.

    In NZ, the reverse would apply.

    In Virginia, all parties would be in flight.

    Etc etc.

    Suitable illustrated, it would sell excellently as a Christmas gift, don’t you think?

  5. Jay says:

    Hennepin bridge – was that one of the old “grill” type bridges? Used to scare the crap out of me as a kid the way you could see about a “Bajillion” feet down to the surface of the water.

  6. gandalf says:


    Sadly, this was a bring newish new concrete one.

    But there is still a small grill type from the St P side to Hennepin, very old and scary.

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