Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Outback Battles

The Glitter Globe, Mosquitoes, S.R. Karfelt, Canada
S.R. Karfelt

Did you hear the one about dryer sheets being a mosquito repellent?  You know, “Put a Bounce sheet in your hat. That will keep them away.”  I vacation in the wilds of Canada, don’t make me laugh. If you live in suburbia, and have tried this method and didn't get bitten, you might naively call it a success. Keep in mind your neighborhood is likely a mosquito’s idea of a Chinese Buffet; the critter has a blinding array of choices on Buttercup Lane. Perhaps fabric softener sheets do make the Jones’s next door more appetizing than you. Now let’s say you’re far outside insect fast food strip malls enjoyed by city-skeeters.  You're deep in the Canadian Wilderness where no other human being has walked since Noah. You are just a big naked bear to the palate of a mosquito. I don’t care if you’ve bathed in OFF, unless you light yourself on fire – you, my friend, are dinner for the masses.

Consider this, if you are the only human to walk down a post apocalyptic alley chock full of vampires, I don’t care if you have wall to wall crucifix tattoos on your body, I say you are going to get drained. And when the vampires notice your ink, they’ll just say, “Oh dear!  That was on the Do-Not-Eat list – my bad!” Maybe they'll go to confession like Friday meat-eaters during Lent, but it’s like when I miss a meal and swing by Panera for a salad, and walk past the bakery’s cookie display. They have flower shaped cookies this summer, do I care that they contain sugar?  No more than a ravenous mosquito cares that I’ve been dipped in OFF. Hopefully that stuff leaves a nasty after-taste in his mouth, or maybe it is just oil, salt and pepper as I’ve long suspected. Either way, I see no difference in Canadian-mosquito-equal-opportunity-tourist-consumption with or without bug repellent.

There are three things that I’ve found that cut down on mosquito terrorism. If you are Canadian, please quit reading this. I know you’ll just go back to the lab and develop a new strain of the creatures impervious to these methods.

1)   Battery operated hand-held bug zappers. You will need one heck of a lot of AA-Batteries, and you will still short this thing out if you are in the bush using it. It is best used indoors. It does not make much of a dent in mosquito populations, but it delivers great personal satisfaction.

2)   ThermaCELL mosquito repellent. These devices give me a headache after a bit, but they are very effective and I am allergic to life on earth, maybe they won't bother you.

3)   Good old-fashioned mosquito netting. This is where I will be working on my current WIP. It’s nice to have one of those bug zappers under the netting with you, because some of the beasts always find their way in. Yes, this really is my idea of vacation.

* Excuse any hint of advertising, just telling you what has worked for me.  All nationalities of mosquitoes encourage you to stick with the Bounce dryer sheets and Listerine.


  1. My brother used to plant trees in the northern wilds of BC for a living. He used to buy stuff that was 97% DEET, essentially bathe in it, and still be bitten sometimes. There's no stopping a good Canadian, mosquito or otherwise.

  2. Good Canadian mosquito is an oxymoron.
    The fact that the the Thermacell does create a small cone of protection, after years of failed products, is almost frightening in its prospects. It feels magically dangerous.
    Glad to know Brother made it out alive.

  3. Huddling under a mosquito net to write is your idea of a vacation? Hmmm, Steph, are there any men in white out in the Canadian wilderness?

    1. Perhaps, Norma, but I don't recommend white because the mosquitoes like it. I don't see much beyond my imaginary friends beneath my mosquito netting. I know it sounds crazy, but I like absolute silence when working. I can hear the voices better ;)

  4. Listerine. That's the latest and greatest idea I heard. And may as well gargle while you're at it! Cuz garlic only works against vampires last I heard. But rub garlic on a mosquito bite! Bata bing bata boom! Zaps the itch away!! :) Happy writing!! -Raj