Mosquitoes, what are they good for….

If many of you are like me, you do not look too far into the next season. I would not buy a coat in June or a bathing suit in December, unless of course I was lucky enough to be heading to some fantastic warm holiday destination. I typically would buy the coat when I needed it, at full price and be challenged to find exactly what I wanted. Having retired, I now have time to stop and appreciate today and look a little further ahead.

So, I have been thinking about mosquito season as it rapidly approaches and how I am not prepared. Here are my thoughts, notes, and links. First, I am no expert here, however mosquitoes became a problem in San Diego over the past decade as weather changes got progressively worse. 

Bill and Ted pitch in to prop up a troubled Pisa building.

Here is a link to an article that lays out natural ways to repel mosquitoes and ways to prevent them from reproducing in your home and or garden. Note: This is a USA professional pest control site with comprehensive information, other repellent solutions maybe available outside the USA.

Here is another site focused on Italian Mosquitoes. This guy has some definite experience in Italy, using products plus the bed netting.

Now for my two cents: We have not spent a summer in Lucca yet. We moved here in November of 2021 and have heard it is very hot, humid and buggy (beyond just mosquitoes but flies, etc.). We all know mosquitoes can spread disease, irritate skin, and keep you awake with the nightly buzz around your head. “Ugg, make it stop!”, “Oh, I got him”, “Crap, she has 9 lives”.  Note: Only females suck blood. Males do not have the equipment.

It is also good to note here that our furry friends are also extremely vulnerable to mosquito transmitted diseases. Check with your vet for mosquito, tick, and flea control options. 

Why do mosquitoes love me but not my friend?

Of course, it is because you are so much sweeter. 😊 Reality, it is tied to scent. Scent can be expelled thru your skin or hair, by something you ate, or the lotions and or potions you may have applied to your body. I have also heard that our natural, unique smell can invite those suckers. Commercial repellent products are about a smell they do not like but could be toxic to humans. Some studies have shared they maybe attracted to clothes colors that are dark. 

Mosquito takes aim at Lucchese expat.

It is curious that garlic is on the list as a natural repellent. You would think garlic being the Italian national flower, spice, tree, etc., that mosquitoes would be living in another country. Ha-ha…well we are eating more garlic now just because we are in Italy, but how much is enough? We will be researching this further. I hope it does not “repel our friends.”

I personally do not like the citronella smell. We see nice plants and aromas in the link that we have not evaluated, but we will be looking to try.

We have found that mosquitoes do not like wind, and they are attracted to CO2 (your exhaled breath – that is how they find you in the dark). We have used small fans blowing across our faces to make it windy, blow CO2 away and provide some relief when it is hot. Now is the time to look for fans because it is off season. If you wait till June, they could be hard to find. Our fan checklist includes quiet as possible, low energy use and strong enough breeze for both our faces. 

Also, check all your windows for screens. Even if you have AC, using windows as much as possible will minimize energy costs which I understand have recently gone up. Note: Jim Corcoran shared some energy saving tips in English Mondays.

There is mention of mosquito enemies like fish in ponds. Even bats? I am not sure where you get bats, how to attract them or if I really want bats around instead of mosquitoes? Curious, does garlic really repel vampire bats? 

Here is a fun and interesting read on how Walt Disney Corporation approaches mosquito vs mouse in an ongoing effort at Disney World in Florida – where it is hot, humid, and wet surrounded by swamps. Not mentioned in this article, is that they built the park to have moving water, not stagnant pools. All structures were built with water run off after storms, no pooling. They pump faint garlic and other aromas into the park. And the chickens…..check the link.

I would love to hear if you have any other mosquito repellent techniques beyond what is shared. We like natural solutions.

About the author…Bill Plunkett, wife Jane Pederson and dog Ted, moved to Lucca November 1, 2021, from San Diego, California. Having retired and still mobile, we sold/gave away everything and came to Lucca with 8 boxes of all our worldly possessions and no plan to move back. We are enjoying meeting so many likeminded people and embracing the Italian life- food, wine, beauty, and LAUGHTER. We have a “yes to everything (at least once)’’ attitude to fully experience life here. We are open to lending a helping hand into the community. We look forward to meeting up for a hike, bike or coffee/Aperitivo soon. 

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