Friday, October 26, 2012

Mosquitoes


Honestly, mosquitoes haven't really been much of a problem in our Brazilian experience.  We've had some bites, but nothing too bad.

Until now.

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???!

Thanks.



14 comments:

  1. We have some pretty nasty mosquitoes in our apartment (and they were a TERROR when we slept at the house located near a lagoon).

    We use the "SBP elétrico" brand of the plug in and it seems to work pretty well. Not a natural product, however. I keep a racket next to the bed, so if I wake to the sound of buzzing I swing it around until I zap the little bugger.

    Also - I generally sleep under a sheet to limit my skin exposure. We have some exceptionally thin sheets for summer (and a ceiling fan). This helps a lot.

    And I HATE when I get stung on a finger! So much more uncomfortable!

    Good luck.

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  2. You be careful with them! My MIL got dengue two years ago... she was fine in the end but was MISERABLE throughout. Hope you find some good tools that help!

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    1. Yes, my husband got dengue when he went to the Yucatan back before we got married. I thought he just had the flu and I gave him such a bad time, and blamed him for being a baby. Oops.

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  3. I would prefer non-toxic ways to reduce the problem , like "telas mosquiteiras" at windows and "luminária mata insetos" in places you think they come the most.

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    1. Thanks! I didn't even know about the telas...I'll see if I can track them down.

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  4. Yes, screens are a fantastic investment. You can also take vitamin B (it's called Vitamina B Complexo). Check with a pediatrician about dosages for kids. When I went to the Pantanal, it really helped.

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    1. Thanks! Now that you mention it, I had heard of Vitamin B before. I'll be taking a trip to the US in a few weeks, so maybe I'll stock up!

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  5. don't know if you can get them in Brazil, but I just read a thing that says Bounce dryer sheets repel mosquitos and to put one in your belt loop to ward them off. Is there such a think as AVON in Brazil? Avon's Skin so soft is also a good repellant.

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    1. Thanks! Bounce dryer sheets probably don't exist here because very few people have dryers. And I'm pretty sure Avon is here...somewhere :-)

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  6. I would bet the next door garden is your problem!! I would try all of the above solutions and Yes, sleeping with sheet over all of body is part of my defense here, maybe use bounce on sheets too!

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  7. You can easily find citronella for sale in BH. I've seen citronella candles at EPA, but you'll find anything citronella at the herbal stands in the Mercado Central. Just ask for it; if they don't have it at the place where you ask, I'm sure they'll direct you to someone who does. I got essecência de citronela once, it's a liquid and you need a candle support thingy to burn it (you can find that at Mercado Central.), I've heard the name for it in both in English and Portuguese, but I cannot remember what it is called. :S There was a citronella craze in Brazil when we had this dengue epidemic, it's not as popular anymore, but still around. The rackets are still my favorite. I love to hear the little suckers being electrocuted. haha

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    1. Thanks Samia! Is it citronella in Portuguese also? And yes, the racket is SO gratifying. But also so damn frustrating when I can't get to the mosquito in time...

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  8. I'm moving to Brazil and plan on bringing a lot of screens with me to cover all my windows. I don't know how they live down there without them. Secondly I am getting a yellow fever shot its not just for the Amazon anymore. I went to a tropical medicine specialist in Boston Ma who is from South America and goes to Brazil frequently. He told me that all over Brazil except for right up against the coast line near the ocean is yellow fever territory he showed me the map. I am not sure if a lot of people realize that. Or a lot of people just ignore it.

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