Before we moved to China I took some Mandarin lessons. I learned things like greetings, numbers, and telling time. Little did I know that one of the first new words I would learn after moving would be for an insect. Wénzi蚊子, (mosquito) is now my nemesis, and part of my daily vocabulary.
We don’t see many mosquitoes in the house during the day, but as soon as the lights dim outside they suddenly appear inside the house. As you lay down to sleep, don’t be surprised if you hear a buzz near your ear – it’s just wénzi there to wish you good night!
The Itchy Problem
I confess that I am the lucky one in my family. I don’t know if mosquitoes aren’t attracted to me, or if I’m just not allergic to their bites, but I have only had a couple of bites that didn’t itch and healed very quickly. The rest of the family has not fared so well and all have a constant set of itchy red marks. There have been times when I wanted to tell people that my children don’t have acne – it’s just bug bites. That really doesn’t sound good though, so I just keep my mouth shut, and thankfully the people we meet are tactful enough not to ask!
We’re not exactly sure how the mosquitoes are getting into the house, but are trying to narrow down the possibilities. The locals we talk to tell us it is because we have lots of trees around our house. We think it may be because the cable guy installed the wire through an open window that now doesn’t seal completely. But we had plenty of them before we got cable TV, so there must be other entry points.
Trying to Eliminate the Mosquitoes
We’re trying new ways to reduce the bugs, like closing the curtains as soon as the light outside starts to dim. We are also trying out some new products.
Our real estate agent recommended this as an after-bite product. My daughter tested it and says that it reduces redness but doesn’t help with the itch. I give it an “A” for cute packaging and nice scent! This cream wasn’t helping the itching enough, so my husband stocked up on multiple kinds of itch-relief cream on a recent trip to the US, which we now carry with us at all times.
These plug-ins are supposed to prevent mosquitoes from biting. We’ve been using them in our bedrooms at night, but don’t think they help much. We bought the jumbo-size box though, so will keep using them until they run out.
This liquid product was on the Buy-One-Get-One-Free rack at the grocery store and came highly recommended by the sales clerk. We couldn’t resist the sale price, and agree that it works pretty well. It’s a menthol-type liquid that is supposed to repel the bugs and also soothes itches. We can’t read the label, thus don’t know if it contains harmful chemicals, so it feels safer than using DEET spray at night. A new family favorite!
Beating the Mosquitoes
One product that is really helping to reduce our bug population is the mosquito zapper machine. We placed it near the front door and leave it on all day. We know it works because we find new bugs stuck to the coils every day.
The real winner though, is the mosquito racket. So much fun to use, as it produces sparks and a loud ZAP sound when you make contact with the bug. I’ve started making nightly rounds of the bedrooms with the racquet, trying to eliminate insects before they strike. I feel a sense of satisfaction with every spark!
One thing we haven’t tried yet is mosquito nets – if we can figure out how to order them off the Chinese internet, we may resort to buying them.
If anyone has other tips, please pass them on!