If you’re the type — like me — that mosquitoes make a beeline for no matter who else is around, then you need this advice before visiting or staying in Malta for any length of time.
Mosquitoes in Malta are active all year, not only in spring and summer, but throughout the fall and winter, too. Yes, the winter.
Part of the reason for winter survival is that winter is the rainy season for Malta. And because the temperatures hardly ever go below 45 or 50 degrees F, it never freezes. So mosquitoes can still lay their eggs. And to lay eggs, the females need to eat. And their favorite meal? You (or me, if I’m around).
You may be used to being cautious about mosquitoes at dawn or dusk. But Maltese mosquitoes can bite at any time of the day. Again, the climate has something to do with it, but there’s something else.
Malta has a type of mosquito known as the Asian Tiger Mosquito. This villain actually has stripes on it (if you actually take a moment to look at it before you kill it) and has a ferocious appetite like a tiger all day.
So what do you do about all-day, all-night, all-season mosquitoes who are smitten with you?
There is protection for all times. Here are some products to help you:
For Your Skin
Mosquito repellant, containing DEET, that you apply on your skin is available from any pharmacy in Malta and is not expensive. It comes in several forms, depending on how much and what type of coverage you want: aerosol and non-aerosol sprays, creams, foams, combination sunblock and mosquito repellant.
One of the best things — but these are more expensive — are packages of moist repellant wipes or towelettes that come in a box. These are great because you can slip some in your bag or pants pockets and apply it immediately if you start getting bitten.
For Your House
Use fans in your house because these insects are weak fliers and the fans may also disperse the scent humans give off that lead the mosquitoes to your body.
Get rid of any unnecessary things outside containing water. These include unused containers, garden pots and buckets, toys that can collect water, stopped-up drainage pipes. Even plastic hanging sun drapes can collect water that the mosquitoes use to breed in.
Buy and use the following products that keep mosquitoes away or kill them:
– Pellets that you insert every night near your bed (supposedly very safe for humans) in a device that you plug into the wall. It looks like a night light. It warms the pellet, which gives off a scent which the mosquitoes hate.
– Liquid plug-ins work the same way as the pellets, but they use a fluid which is slowly heated and released into the air. Again, the scent repels the mosquitoes.
– Citronella candles come in all sizes and shapes for indoor and outdoor use. Some are quite decorative. While they’re lit, they keep mosquitoes away. (Never leave a lit candle burning by itself.)
What about those electric bug zappers you hear about that supposedly sizzle mosquitoes as they are attracted the the ultraviolet light? Some experts say that while zappers attract and kill many insects that may resemble mosquitoes, the zappers don’t work because mosquitoes are not attracted to light; they’re attracted to the carbon dioxide we emit through our breath and sweat.
So don’t waste your money on a zapper. Use the other tips instead.
ABC News–What is a Tiger Mosquito?
About.com: Do bug Zappers Kill Mosquitoes?