Tuscany – Summer: Oh No! Mosquitoes!

by Samuele Sodini

citronella

One of the less wonderful elements o fan italian summer is bug life. Even if you are staying high abd dry little creatures will find you. One summer night around midnight in a pitch-black country house i awoke to what appare to be the light of a cigarette slowly approaching mu bed. Shuddering in fear, i turned off his. What a relief  to see that the silent intruder was a firefly and not a man! The next day i had my bed enveloped in a “zanzariera” gauzy white mosquito netting. Ever since, i’ve enjoyed the safety and beauty of sleeping under netting. Mosquito nets are sold in town at Texnova, Lunata.
People often ask me what to do about mosquitoes (zanzare), so i took a survey and here are some othe solutions:
Windows screens: while not 100% effective they to help. On the other hand, they collect dirt and obscure one’s view of the world outside.
Wind: mosquitoes don’t like fly against the wind, so a fan blowing across one’s bed on a hot night i san effective deterrent.
Smoke: my father, an inveterate smoker, swore that leaving a cigarette burning during barbecues would keep insects at bay.
he learned this during his years in the Navy and Coast Guard, many of them spent in the South pacific.
Citronella candles are also effective. Green chimica spirals (zampirone) work even better but should only be used outdoors.
Organic: alloro or waxy laurel rubbed on the skin in the chosen solution of my contadina neighbor, but years ago when her husband raised vegetables in the paludi he rubbed down vith winebar. Eating garlic or pesto also helps, in my opinion.
Animal friends: geco make welcome house-guests since they dine on mosquitoes and othe insects. Bats eat insects, as do sswallows.
Prevention: standing water attracts mosquitoes! So doeas the organic garbage which the city, inexplicably, only picks up two or three times a week. To avoid both odors and insects, you can freeze your organic trash if it won’t be collected for a few days.
Skin products such as Autan come in spray and stick form, but they contain chemicals. Special doseges are made for babies and small children. Wash hands after application. Anti mosquito wipes ( salviette antipuntura) containing eucalyptus and citronella are available in grocery stores. Easy to carry when you travel.
Electrical devices: with containers for chemicals work well. These diffuse low doses of poison into the atmosphere..In the old days entire towns were sprayed with DDT, but unless we are inveded by zanzare tigri probably that won’t happen here.
Electronic zappers attract bugs and suck the minto their deadly trap. Good for industrial-level usage,outdoor picnic areas, etc.
If mosquitoes become unbearble, you can head for the beach, plunge into the waves..and watch out for the medusa! But that’s another problem…

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