Household enemy #1

Filed in Hong Kong

You know the weather is changing when the pets change the way they sleep, or rather the surfaces they sleep on. Yes, the weather has finally warmed up here in Hong Kong. The fog has left us and although we still cannot see blue skies because of the nice pollution we get from our large neighbour, the weather overall is great; not too cool and not too hot. We're averaging around 28 degrees celcius, probably warm enough to go for a swim which we probably won't do anytime soon even though we live literally 10 minutes walk from a beach.

When the weather cools, our dogs scrunch up the blankets we provide them and then sleep on the blankets. Now that the weather is warming up, they're choosing to sleep on the tiled floor instead where it's cooler, so cool in fact that considerable moisture builds up in front of their faces on the floor as the moisture in their breath condensates upon contact with the cool floor.

Mosquito Along with the warmer weather came more mosquitoes; many more. It is now one of my responsibilities here at home to scan the home before I sleep, armed with an electric mosquito swatter, pouncing on every mosquito I can find. I have the best eyes in the house so it's only natural that I'm the one to be given this responsibility.

I hate mosquitoes. In fact, they're probably the only existing animal or insect that I despise. We don't have many flies here so they don't bother me although the meat-eating flies are a real threat if any of our dogs are injured with open wounds. Last year when I was stung on the big toe by a centipede, I didn't seek to kill it or punish it. It was simply protecting itself so I accepted the warning and let the centipede continue on its way. I didn't get off lightly though because my foot and then my lower leg were in severe pain for three to four hours after the sting. It was very difficult to bear, even when iced.

I hate mosquitoes so much that I'm now quite adept at swatting them in mid-air with my bare hands. I can swat them so fast that they slam against the wall and frequently stick to the wall as their blood-filled belly explodes onto the wall. Consequently, our maid has the additional task of wiping dead mosquitoes off the walls whenever she sees them. It happens a lot.

I hate their buzzing at night while I'm trying to sleep. They don't bite me often because they apparently don't like my blood, and I also suspect that the hair on my arms and legs makes it more difficult for the mosquitoes to get close enough to my skin to actually begin sucking. However, that buzz and the mere threat of being bitten while asleep is impossible to ignore. It also annoys the heck out of my wife, and they love to suck on her blood. Unfortunately, she swells readily at each and every point where they bite, and the itching really gets to her. It can be very uncomfortable for her at the best of times, so it is doubly important that I kill as many mosquitoes as possible before I sleep.

Mosquito trap We actually purchased a mosquito trap from the U.S.A. a little over a year ago. It mimics a heart beat, releases a fragrance similar to the carbon dioxide that animals release and emits warmth just as a warm-blooded animal does. It works pretty well but it doesn't catch everything. The instructions state to place the trap away from where the people live to attract the mosquitoes away from the people rather than to them. This theory simply doesn't work in our case. With ten dogs and five people, the warmth and carbon dioxide emanating from our home is simply too over powering and attractive for any mosquito to ignore no matter where the mosquito trap is placed. After weeks of experimentation and some careful analysis of my own, I concluded that the best place for the trap was just outside our screen door. The breath and warmth of ten dogs and five people would ultimately draw the mosquitoes to the door. When they realise that they can't get to us, they'll take the next best thing; the mosquito trap. In its current position, it works really well. Unfortunately, we can't buy replacement carbon dioxide strips and sticky paper here in Hong Kong so we have to organise with friends to get the replacements from the U.S.A. whenever we can.

There are other mosquito traps available which transform LP gas into warmth and carbon dioxide and attract the mosquitoes to a vacuumed area using these attractants. These traps are apparently very effective, even more so than our current trap, but they are extremely expensive to buy here in Hong Kong. In fact, the Mosquito Magnet Liberty trap costs twice here in Hong Kong what it costs in the U.S.A. At those prices, only institutions can afford to buy them. That counts us out. So for the foreseeable future at least, I'll be the principal weapon in our war against mosquitoes.

I was going to talk about something surprising I found in a loaf of bread, but I'll talk about that another time. I'm going to brunch with friends at a friend's restaurant tomorrow morning so it would be prudent of me to shower and sleep earlier rather than later tonight. My friend's restaurant by the way is great. She cooks everything she serves, and that includes more than fifteen varieties of cheese cake. Yummy!

Till later, don't let the mosquitoes bite.

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2 Responses to “Household enemy #1”
  1. Mi says:

    Hi Greg,

    I never like mosquitoes, but i guess i do not hate them as much as you do. The mosquitoes in Montreal aren't similar to those in HK. AS soon as you get a bite from them, the skin would get swallen so badly, it can get as big as the size of a knee. but it doesn't get very itchy, it heal itself in days without putting on any medicine. I guess this is one of the benefits living outside of HK (besides the air pollution), i can't think of any other "living benefit" than these two. Hope the mosquitoes would stay away from you and your family.

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