Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mosquito control

Anti-mosquito arsenal

Recent late evening thundershowers and hot sunny days may have done a ton of good in the garden, but the rains have also given the mosquito population an edge. I have an extremely bad reaction after being bitten by a zanzara, and regardless of what's been said and written - all positive - on mosquito-repelling plants, I still find it necessary to supplement the geraniums and marigolds with chemical products. In the typical italian home there are no window screens(!) which further exacerbates the problem of keeping skeeters out. I remember one sleepless summer night in Tuscany where it was so hot that I simply had to open the windows - the bloodsuckers wasted no time coming in.

The above items are conspicuously stocked on major supermarket shelves just before summer comes along and I noticed that this year, brightly colored repellent wristbands were a fast-selling item. We mainly use heat-activated insecticide tablets (they look like small pieces of cardboard) outside, never indoors. There's also the vaporizer that plugs into an outlet but we no longer use it. The spray is for enclosed spaces like the tool shed or garage, but it's the coil repellents that ring a bell with me. They've always been a regular household item in Hawaii (we used them to light firecrackers on new year's eve) and recent visitors from the islands commented that the citronella and geranium-scented mosquito coils would probably sell like hotcakes (only the green ones are available in Hawaii). My husband did take it upon himself to install retracting window screens in the kitchen/living room where we spend much of our time, but the biggest improvement has been the double screen door panels with a doggie entrance - it keeps the insects out but lets the breeze in. The only hurdle now is to convince the dogs to use it.

There's a whole new world on the other side

And lastly, the gratuitous tomato shot since it's all about tomatoes for a lot of gardeners right now. Tess's Land Race currant on June 23rd, July 6th and today. They are so tiny but have good tart/sweet flavor.

Tess's Land Race Currant Tess Land Race currant tomatoes Ripe Tess's Land Race Currant

Today's high: 29°C / 84°F

6 comments:

  1. those tomatoes are looking good! I hope you can protect yourself from those skeeters, I've already got bitten from the ones in Hawaii :(

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  2. ah yes, summertime. Beach, beer, BBQs and ...mozzies, yuk. It's been really dry here so we're not seeing too many right now but you're right, the coils caught my eye immediately. Especially the geranium scented one!
    i love your doggie door, what a clever idea. Now all you need is some mosquito netting to princess up your bed ; )
    Tomato time!

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  3. Kat - I always spray on mosquito repellent before working in the garden, so no problem there. It's when we want to sit outside in the evening 'cause it's too warm in the house....and those buggahs are waiting to ambush. The coils help alot but it's the canned spray (which I hate to use all the time) that works best. One blast and dead skeetah!

    Julie - I like the mosquito netting idea (so romantic-looking!) but with screens installed, it's not really necessary to consider the idea anymore. So far we've been winning the battle. ^-^

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  4. We call those Mosquite Coils here in the states. They are quite effective, not that we've had too many issues this summer due to drought. Those tomatoes look yummy! :)

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  5. Mozzies - tell me about them. They seem worse than ever this year. Daren't open the windows at night - it was 31° in the bedroom at 3.30 the other morning ... :(

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  6. perennialgardener - that's the trade-off I suppose - drought or mosquitoes. I don't know how the families in our building manage with their little ones. The other day a toddler was running around outside with only his undies on, and it was in the early evening when mosquitos are in their hunting-for-fresh-blood mode!

    Sue - I hear that they are especially terrible in the city. 31°....an inferno in those conditions!

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