Most people who’ve experienced Malta in the summertime will praise its dazzling sun scorched scenery… whilst covered in mosquito bites and scratching at them like crazy. The natives know all too well of their life-long battle with this much loathed species, and every year, the Maltese wage war on these sanguinivorous insects.
The first rule of battle is to know thine enemy. So, here are a few facts and tips that will help you keep these little pests at bay.
Get rid of stagnant water
Mosquitoes can adapt to any kind of weather over time, but they particularly thrive in hot and humid conditions. Tropical countries and islands such as ours are perfect environments for mosquitoes, as the females require stagnant bodies of water or moist crevices such as flower pots to lay their eggs. Once temperatures begin to rise, the eggs will start to hatch from their watery womb.
If your house is being invaded by mossies, make sure to drain such sources of water, or add chlorine to your fountain. It also helps to keep goldfish and guppies in your pond, as they feed on mosquito larvae.
Don’t let them in
Keep windows shut at all times, but if you need to air your rooms, have mosquito nets installed so that their break-in is kept to a minimum. Once you close the window, disinfect the room by plugging in a mosquito killer unit, and change the tablet every 10 hours. Not only will it exterminate the ones that manage to get inside, but it will also give off a calming herbal aroma to your room.
Also, expensive as it may be, sleeping in an air-conditioned room will confuse mosquitoes, as the circulating air will muddle up their path of scent towards your body. You can also keep them away with fans, as they’re weak fliers and are instantly thrown off course by the breeze produced.
Know your weaknesses
You could be slapping yourself silly trying to fight off a swarm of mosquitoes, while the other person next to you has never even been bitten once in their lives. This is because some people give off chemicals that mask natural odours which mosquitoes are attracted to. They are stimulated by humans with Type O blood and heavy breathers. Their senses are also led by sweat, heat and pregnant women.
Male mosquitoes don’t bite and both genders live on fruit and plant nectar. However, females don’t actually digest blood for feeding, but only store it to utilise its protein to further develop their young. They’re classified as parasites because they don’t kill their prey, as they need it to survive in order to keep using its resources. The females can lay up to 300 eggs, so by eliminating the source, you’ll be lessening their population within your garden.
Lick those wounds
We don’t experience the actual bite, but the saliva they inject is what really causes irritation. Luckily, mosquitoes in Malta don’t carry diseases such as malaria, but the itchiness caused by the wheals is almost unbearable. You can subside it by rubbing half a lemon, chilled aloe vera gel or minced garlic onto the bite. You can also dab some toothpaste onto it and let it rest for about 10 minutes. There are also some fantastically-scented and effective insect repellents which you can douse yourself with before braving the outdoors.
Bite of the tiger
The Asian Tiger Mosquito is vibrant but silent. This monochrome striped breed doesn’t make a buzzing sound, making it harder to detect as it approaches your personal space for a juicy bite. Like other mosquitoes, it’s attracted to dark clothing and the female hunts for blood, but only during the day. In terms of hunting strategies, they are slightly more advanced than the average mosquito, in that they can interrupt their consumption of blood if they sense danger, and resume from another angle once they’ve avoided it. They also head for the ankles and work their way up until they find a pronounced enough capillary.
They are more immune to repellents, sprays and nets, so it’s best to just eliminate any water sources to keep their presence to a minimum. Also, do be careful as they can be very dangerous to pets such as cats and dogs, as they can transmit heartworm.
Is your house a magnet for mosquitoes? How do you cope with the invasion?
Let us know in the comment section below.