Monday, July 20, 2009

Insect repellent

A few days ago Mrs. Goodneedle posted a lovely poem about gratitude and one of the verses was;

"When life gives me dark clouds and rain I appreciate the moisture that brings a soft curl to my hair."

Well, I've got the rain and the moisture and I guess I've got the soft curls too.

The rainy season is supposedly over. According to the Japanese weather bureau. Maybe someone should tell the weather. I missed most of the rainy season while I was in the States but this week we have had rain and thunder and HEAT and HUMIDITY. That's why the curls. But the heat and humidity also brings out the bugs which I find difficult to be grateful about but I do have some ways of battling the insects.

Traditionally Japanese ward off the ever present mosquitoes by burning incense coils. Since California never had mosquitoes I don't know how the rest of the world deals with mosquitoes but Japanese will often burn these coils in the garden or by the windows of their houses. Recently I've even seen farmers with incense burners hanging from their belts to protect them while they are in the fields. I have used incense coils especially for Choco out in the yard but occasionally will burn them at night in the house. One coil will burn for about 7 hours and make for a mosquito free evening. I'm not sure how great all that smoke is for the lungs but it does have a nostalgic aroma which is not unpleasant.

Another way that Japanese will protect themselves from mosquitoes is to hang nets from the ceiling and sleep under them at night. I think this method is going by the wayside though because the nets take up space and only seem to work with traditional type rooms. Tetsu remembers using mosquito nets when he was a boy.

A more modern way to keep the mosquitoes away is by this nifty little machine that plugs into the wall. The center heats up and a small mat about the size of an eraser is placed on the heating element. I think there must be pesticides or something that will dissipate into the air when the mat is heated and I often use my mosquito repellent gadget at night. No smoke or smell and I just replace the mat every night before going to bed.

And in the event that the mosquitoes get through all the smoke and pesticides, there is a wonderful product called Unako-wa which relieves itchiness. It must have menthol or something in it because one dab and the itchy area is cool and tingly and no longer itches. Tetsu goes through a bottle or two of this each mosquito season...

So, we are grateful to all the people who have invented ways to keep mosquitoes at bay.


Mimi said...

Hi Tanya,

I absolutely HATE mosquitos. I usually just go inside when they start coming after me. They love my blood!! If my hubby and I are outside together, they will leave him alone and come feast on me!

I don't use repellent much, but in our area there is a new gadget being advertised that you clip on your belt or put on the table near you and it keeps the offenders away.

Glad you've found some things that work for you.


G'G'ma said...

Hate mosquitos too. We've had more than our share this year. With all the rain, flooding and water standing in ditches there has been an endless supply of breeding places. I've heard that mosquitos like women better than men. That liking I can do without!!

Allie said...

I hate them too. Avon's Skin-So-Soft works for me though, and it worked on my boys when they were small. They haven't tried it lately, it's too "girly".

Marcie said...

In Australia we have two other weapons against mozzies - personal repellent and window screens. The best-known repellent is Aeroguard, available as a spray or roll-on, but any repellent containing DEET (diethyltoluamide)will work. Most homes are also fitted with screens of fine aluminium mesh to keep flies and mosquitos out. We also have fly-wire doors, an extra lightweight door fitted to external doorways. But every now and then, a pesky mosquito sneaks in, whining ominously just as you're dropping off to sleep.

anareis said...

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Timi said...

In Hungary, this year, we have mosquitoes, lots of them...:O((
We can't go to the playground with the children because there are mosquitos anywhere!
The only protection is the net, so we use nets on every windows. I'm so surpised you have the same problem with these bugs as we do...

The Calico Quilter said...

My sister-in-law definitely needs one of those mosquito repellant machines. The bugs absolutely love her, and she is miserable all summer. The funny thing is, they barely live 1/4 mile from my mom and I never see a mosquite at mom's house. Maybe their garden and the flowers all over her yard provide breeding grounds for the bugs, whereas mom's yard is very flat and mostly clear.

quiltmom said...

HI Tanya,
We do get mosquitos and they do love to eat me- We have some of the coils and have used Skin So soft by Avon . As well, we use citronella candles outside on the deck. I try not to go walking in the grass at night as the mosquitos are the worst there then. If I do then I use what is called OFf bug repellent.
It seems like you have been a very busy lady. Hope you are getting some time to rest and relax too. Hope your mother is doing well since your return to Japan.
Warmest regards,

Rose Marie said...

We use the coils when we are at our cottage. Due to West Nile Fever (which has arrived in our area of the country), we don't sit outside around dusk and if I work in the garden then I will spray on some muskoil or some other mosquito repellent.