Mosquito armageddon is upon us, but we're fighting back
8 products that will keep those micro-vampires at bay
The Great Battle of Bloodsuckers began when I first moved into a hostel during my college days. Being located in one of the greenest parts of the capital city, the thirsty devils were omnipresent, much like its famous momo thekas. Every day you could find me dutifully swatting away at them as my friends talked about their engaging love lives in the background. The hero — or rather, the villain — of my love life, you ask? Why, mosquitoes, of course.
Regular people would wish for the power to fly, or even immortality, if given the chance to have a superpower. But you know what I’d pick? Becoming invisible to these pesky creatures, which are actually one of the deadliest animals in the world. A recent conversation at work made me realise I was not the only one who purely hated these femme fatales (only female mosquitoes bite, wouldn’t you know it) from the bottom of my heart.
Upon investigating why these harbingers of disease were so obsessed with me, I found out that my black-wearing, alcohol-chugging ways may be making me more susceptible to them.
Our metabolic rate corresponds to the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the air as our bodies burn fuel to create energy. And mosquitoes use CO2 emissions as a radar to hone in on their hapless targets. Alcohol raises our resting metabolic rate (so does exercise, though that isn’t the reason I’m being targetted). And if your wardrobe is awash in a sea of black, like mine, mosquito expert Dr Jonathan Day has some bad news.
“Mosquitoes have problems flying in even a slight wind, and so they keep close to the ground,” he explains. “Down there, they spot hosts by comparing your silhouette to the horizon. Dark colours stand out, while light shades blend in. Moving around also distinguishes you from your surroundings. So if you’re wearing black and gesturing or moving, you might as well be shouting, ‘Hey, mosquitoes. I’m right here, ladies’.”
Since I was obviously not going to sacrifice the two things that are almost single-handedly responsible for keeping me sane these days (other than my screaming goat), I decided to stock up my ammunition against them. Some are old tricks derived from antiquity, while others are more technologically advanced. But, rest assured all of them will work to keep the bugs at bay whether you’re idling in your garden or perilously walking down a water-logged street.
Helping you dodge mosquitoes, one product at a time
For the sake of all my exsanguinated comrades out there, I shall disclose my longest-kept secret to save you from becoming the mosquitoes’ favourite blood-bag. Bug lotion, a longer-lasting counterpart of the mosquito-repellent spray, is not only functional but also aesthetic considering it doesn’t spill everywhere.
I refuse to spend my entire existence reeking of Mortein, especially since a lot of the exciting moments in my insect-repelling life are at outdoor social events where I would prefer to smell like a vanilla bean, thank you. Enter the Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion.
With its thick application and low-scent efficacy, Ultrathon offers the best mosquito-repellant formula, which may not leave you imbued with its shea-butter goodness, but will surely annihilate your hate-hate relationship with the creatures. Insider tip: It even stays put on your feet.
A godsend for all the mosquito-phobes out there with sensitive skin, these Japanese-made wet wipes are free of insecticides and the oft-debated chemical DEET.
Suitable for both babies and adults, these wipes can be used on your hairline, cheeks and ears without fear of becoming Quasimodo. They may also come in handy when you’ve told your partner you’re on your way but you’re still in front of the mirror doing battle with the hair straightener.
And its cute matcha-coloured packaging only makes it more buyable because everyone deserves mosquito repellents that don’t come in scary scarlets.
Bug-zapping appliances exist in a wide range of complex designs and models, from tabletop to handheld to wall-mounted, but their basic operation stays the same: lure flies to the light, then zap them with the gift of electricity.
If you’re in the mood for mayhem, the classic tennis racket-shaped zapper is the best way to channel your energy.
And the best part about this racket isn’t the satisfaction that the loud popping and zapping will bring you, it’s the no squished-bug mess to clean up after because the enemy has already fizzled away. Don’t worry about the burning smell as accompanied by the racket is a bottle of lime-scented mosquito repellent to keep the bugs at bay. Lemon meringue pie, anyone?
Ultrasonic mosquito repellent
If you’re feeling too lazy to go on a mosquito-killing spree, invest in an ultrasonic mosquito repellent that will vanquish an army of mosquitoes with the press of a button.
These devices emit high-pitched sounds at a frequency that are inaudible to dogs, cats and humans but incapacitates mosquitoes, forcing them to flee. Some of these ultrasonic repellers give the added benefit of driving away other household pests like rodents and cockroaches.
These will be your knight in shining armour if you’re tired of waking to a mosquito bite-filled face.
A good, old fan
You’re trying to do last-minute preparations for a presentation at work but the mosquito buzzing incessantly at your ear is all you seem to be focusing on. It has happened to everyone. The solution? A good, old desk fan.
Experts say a stiff breeze can ward off mosquitoes — especially the Zika virus-causing kind that are ankle-biters — so aim a fan low to circulate air under a table.
Packing a strong punch in functionality, this sleek desk fan will not only bat away these weak flyers but also contribute to your workplace aesthetic. But the best part is that it’s quieter than a whisper when it’s switched on, unlike the banshee cries of the mosquitoes.
Mesh screen for doors
Magnetic mesh screens are the perfect option for families with kids and pets. The screen is divided into two halves in the middle, with magnets that retain their position once someone has passed through.
Strategically stacked with powerful magnets and easily installable self-adhesive tape, it provides a seamless closure to keep the mosquitoes out of the house.
Made from high-quality polyester of 60 GSM, this mosquito screen is reinforced with Velcro to prevent it from tearing.
Essential oil diffuser
Citronella candles and tiki torches are nice, but if you want to get the most out of your mosquito repellant, invest in an essential oil diffuser. Look for a cordless one that you can carry outside and that has a reasonable range.
Made of eco-friendly materials, this whisper-quiet diffuser appeals to us because of its smart wooden finishing and soothing night-light feature.
Fill it with a double dosage of essential oils like citronella, lavender, and lemon eucalyptus, then relax and enjoy your afternoon siesta in the shade without worrying about a whining mosquito wake-up call.
When I discovered that only female mosquitoes bite, the appalled feminist in me pushed me to change my mosquito-killing ways. Enter the Bugzooka.
It’s a mosquito vacuum that pulls bugs into an enclosed space before releasing them outside. The BugZooka does not require batteries, unlike other insect vacuums. It also has a powerful suction and can reach a length of around two feet. We like that it comes with two bug chambers.
Because of its clear collection chamber, it will be fun to investigate your catches if you have curious children in tow.
With its pumping technology that blows the mosquitoes out easily, you don’t have to worry about keeping yourself safe from your angry prisoners.