Honestly, mosquitoes haven't really been much of a problem in our Brazilian experience. We've had some bites, but nothing too bad.
Our new apartment, for whatever reason, is rife with mosquitoes. As I write, I can count 5 bites on my legs (yesterday the count was 20). I woke up in the middle of the night because I had been bit on my pinky finger. The kids now know how to apply their own "medicine" to their bites. I'm getting really annoyed by the bites, and what feels like a losing battle against these evil creatures.
Thankfully, mosquitoes are mostly just annoying. But you do have to be careful about dengue fever. There was a VERY big campaign last year to educate the public about dengue, and according to one report, the campaign has been very successful. In 2011 there were 1415 cases of dengue in Belo Horizonte, and between January and August of 2012, there have only been 440.
I'm not sure what it is about our new place that makes mosquitoes so bad. It did start raining since we've moved here. Maybe they were breeding here? We have a house next door that has a "garden" in the back with lots of overgrown trees and shrubs...who knows.
Here's how I'm trying to deal with it:
1. Bug spray. We bought this when we went to Cabo Frio last year. It's just what we have, and it seems to work ok. But I'm not sure if there is a certain brand that works better than others. My preference of course would be to use something more natural, but I haven't had time to research.
2. Plug in room repellant. We bought a device like this at Araujo (the main drug store chain in Belo Horizonte). You are supposed to leave it plugged in while you sleep to keep the mosquitoes at bay. We only bought one (we're cheap and we weren't sure how effective they are), and I pretty much use it as needed (both day and night). Not really sure it's such a great product.
3. The racket. Pronounced "ha-ketch." This is my favorite weapon of destruction. Notice I didn't say mass destruction because it is pretty hard to kill many mosquitoes with it. It has a little button on it that you push to activate a small charge. Then when you swat the bug, it gets electrocuted and makes a loud crackling noise. It's so gratifying, and I love saying something like "DIE SUCKERS!" or "take that you &*^%#." But it's also maddening when you see the mosquito flying around and you miss it, or it eludes the racket. Arg.
So fellow Brazilian expats, please weigh in on this matter. What tools do you use? Anybody know if they sell citronella plants in Brazil? Natural products? ANYTHING???!