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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Mosquitoes - tips and precautions

The mosquito season starts around the end of May and will usually last until the weather turns chillier in the evenings towards the end of October.

We had fly screens installed on all our windows and doors during construction, a lesson we learnt whilst living in Australia for a period in the 1980's, which keeps out flies, moths and wasps but the tiny mosquitoes seem to find a way in. 

The mosquitoes we have are tiny, lightly coloured and are difficult to see against our cream walls but we do manage to vacuum up a significant numbers every morning from their favourite haunts which keeps the numbers down.

Every night before we go to bed, we plug in the spiral mat heater, which has tablet inserts, which give off a strong odour but it's preferable to being bitten and we have got used to the smell. These devices are available in most supermarkets along with replacement tablets. 

We leave our bedroom windows open, to cool us, and it does reduce the strength of the odour but still deters the mosquitoes. We have also started making our own repellent from one part disinfectant and four parts baby oil which we use on our arms, shoulders and faces, which are the only body parts the mosquitoes can get to unless they find a way under the sheet. 

The trouble is that even one mosquito buzzing around your ears is enough to keep you awake until you can find it and vacuum it or swat it. Thankfully, malaria was eradicated in the 1950's from Cyprus so bites are not dangerous.

We seem to get most bites whilst relaxing in the evening. The trouble is you don't feel the bites until you feel itchiness and see the red lump and by this stage the mosquitoes are usually nowhere to be seen. We have found that applying vinegar to the bitten area seems to provide instant relief and is very soothing.

Apparently mosquitoes breed in standing water, so we make sure we don't leave any puddles close to the house but whatever we do some bites are unavoidable and are part and parcel of living in the Mediterranean.

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