Friday, October 12, 2018

Damn Mosquitoes

"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito." 
Attributed to lots of people including the Dalai Lama, Anita Roddick, Julie Foudy, Betty Reese, African Proverb, Anonymous

I don't know who said it, but mosquitoes will bug the ever loving shit out of you. They're also one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. The diseases they can carry kill more than a million people each year and infect more than a billion. 

There's a ton of tips out there about how to avoid mosquitoes, and while many of them are excellent, they don't all work for me. I'm not a massive fan of air conditioning, and realistically I can't be inside 24/7. I also don't enjoy putting repellent directly on my skin every single day. I would prefer not to go around covered from my eyeballs to my toes. I've gotten rid of standing water on our property, have lemongrass growing all over and have mosquito netting on all our windows and on our covered porch. Over the years the weather has broken down some of the netting and a couple of skeeters always manage to make their way on to the porch, which is actually my favorite place to fire up my computer.

So what's this sweet blooded blogger to do?

First thing I always do is turn on my fan. The American Mosquito Control Association says that a large fan is effective because mosquitoes are weak flyers. And fans are an energy efficient way of cooling down, way better than an AC. They're also way quieter.

Next thing I do is light up some mosquito coils. I choose coils because they are cheap, don't need electricity, and are easy to transport. A box costs me about FJD $1.50 and will last me a week of working outside. Mosquitoes hate smoke, and there are some compounds they hate more than others. The coil makers have concentrated all of this into slow burning incense and I light one up each morning when I set up on the porch.

After two years of evaluation, here's my short list of options that I can find in Fiji and why I choose them.

Knockout Jumbo Mosquito Coil
This is the cheapest option I can find, but I haven't purchased them lately. The coils are not clearly shaped, so I always end up breaking the coils into little pieces and they put off a lot of stinky smoke. If I had a party and had to protect a large area I might buy these, but in general I don't touch the orange box.

Good Knight Jumbo Coil
Red is my favorite color and I've bought these a number of times, but they have a really strong smell. They are super easy to separate, so if the price is competitive I'll pick these up.
Mortein Mosquito Coil
This name is synonymous with pest control here in Fiji and these coils are everywhere. They come in two sizes, so it's not super fair to compare this size with the other boxes, but they're the ones I had on hand, so they're in the photo.

< Drumroll please >
Blacktop Mosquito Coil
I'd pick this brand anyway just because I can separate the coils and the smoke doesn't run me off, but the stands! They say bribes work, just ask politicians and little kids. Well, the little metal stands might be this manufacturer's way of bribing me. These little metal stands seem to always disappear! I also have larger mosquito coil holders with built in ash collection, but the humidity here just kills them; they rust out in what feels like days.

So there you have it. This is how I stay mosquito free out on the porch.

Now, which coil holder shall I wish I could find here in Fiji?

Pretty, but with my luck I'd end up dropping it or kicking it

PRETTY! And those look like kiln cones as a base. Now who do I know with a pottery kiln?

Love the minimalism, but this would probably rust out in a heartbeat here

I ADORE this one and have sent it to my favorite glass artist three times now. One day I will have this and then I'll be terrified of breaking it, so until then I'll admire it online.

There will be coil holders like this at my house one day soon. I just need to find some bamboo.

Here's the thing - I've never been in position where I had wire hangers and pliers but no stands. I either had my full household or I had nothing. There was no in between. But posting this here because it's an idea that might work for someone, just not me.
There are also oils and pads that can be released through electric heaters, but I don't have power out on the porch, so I don't use those.

Final thought: Mosquitoes are reputed to like drinkers, but at the end of a long day, a boozy beverage is one of the perks of being out on the porch! Bonus - empty beer bottles make great mosquito coil holders, just don't kick them (go ahead, ask me how I know)