Does this picture make you start slapping yourself on the arm? You’re not alone.

Does this picture make you start slapping yourself on the arm? You’re not alone.

The Editor’s Desk: The mosquito menace

All your questions about the bloodthirsty vampires answered.

Is it my imagination, or are there more mosquitoes than usual this year? Welcome back, my curious friend! There are indeed more of the little bas–I mean mosquitoes than is normally the case.

I take it you hate them as much as I do. Yes. There are three types of people when it comes to mozzies: those who hate them, those who really hate them, and those who never get bitten and wonder what all the fuss is about.

Are there really people who mosquitoes don’t bite? Yes, and as Exhibit A I give you my mother. At any given outdoor event in summer, while the rest of us are frantically swatting and swiping, my mother sits there, serenely unperturbed, knowing that she will not suffer the exquisite agony of multiple itchy welts popping up all over her body.

I’m definitely not your mother, so is there anything I can do—apart from using chemicals like Deet—to keep mosquitoes away from me? You can buy various electronic devices that are said to use soundwaves to keep mosquitoes at bay, or use citronella-scented candles to ward them off.

Do these work? No.

But I thought citronella candles were effective in keeping mosquitoes away from people. Scientists have proven that citronella candles are extremely effective only at keeping mosquitoes away from citronella candles.

Oh. Okay then, I’ve heard that light-coloured clothing is effective. Wearing light-coloured clothing will result in you being slightly less attractive to the winged bloodsuckers than if you dress all in black. Unless your light-coloured clothing is made of rubber, however, or piled several layers deep, there are no guarantees you won’t still get bitten.

I hear that mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so am I okay if I got outside at noon? The key phrase here is “most active”. Some people think that mozzies disappear for a siesta from late morning to the afternoon. Unfortunately, mosquitoes have not had this memo. Going out at noon means you will likely receive fewer bites than if you went out in the evening, not no bites at all.

Am I safe if I stay indoors, then? Probably not. A scientific survey that I intend to conduct as soon as I receive funding will show that even with all doors and windows in your home closed—apart from the 1.3 seconds it takes to get inside and slam the door shut again—mosquitoes will still get inside. As the villain in Raiders of the Ark says, they are nefarious.

Did that guy hate mosquitoes too? He was actually referring to Indiana Jones, who he probably thought was as annoying as a mosquito, so I’m going to say yes.

Speaking of annoying, is there a worse sound than hearing the whine of a mosquito above you as you lie in bed? If there is, then it has not yet been discovered. This is especially frustrating if there are two people in the bed, one of whom never gets bitten. The potential victim will be flailing around like a flag in a high wind and silently resenting the other person, while the non-victim will be trying to ignore the ruckus beside them and silently resenting the other person.

Is there any way to avoid mosquitoes? Move to Antarctica. There are no mozzies there … yet.

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