I don’t know how so many of them got into the house but here I am at five in the morning, trying to write a book review while pumping my morning ration of caffeine into me and I am swatting and waving away what feels like dozens of pesky mosquitoes.
This summer I have noticed more of them than ever inside the house. I don’t like to use sprays and forget which household products are supposed to keep them at bay.
Balsamic vinegar? Listerine? Irish Spring soap? (Or is Irish Spring supposed to keep mice away?) You can eat about twelve garlic cloves a day to protect yourself from mosquitoes as well but …you see where I’m going with that one.
In any event, I don’t particularly want my house smelling like Listerine or balsamic vinegar and, besides, let’s face it: there’s nothing more satisfying than clapping your hands together.
And seeing the mangled corpse of a big bloody mosquito smooshed between them, especially when it’s the same one that has been driving you to distraction and eluding you for the past two hours.
It’s been so dry this summer the mosquitoes have been seeking out and congregating around the toilets and sinks and any place they can find a little water.
They probably reproduce in those places as well, although I am just guessing about that, not really knowing what the life cycle and habits of mosquitoes are.
But how else do you explain the proliferation of them from one day to the next? The thing that simultaneously fascinates and vexes me is how mosquitoes take refuge in the most difficult places to reach.
Up on the ceiling, for example, where I have to balance on a ladder or the sofa and risk falling to my early demise over a stupid mosquito. I don’t much like that payoff.
Or, they hide on the wall directly behind the toilet tank where you can see them but you can’t quite reach.
They always find a corner that is halfway hidden by something that you can’t move so you really can’t get any purchase with your hand even if you can slide it into the spot to swat them.
They are devious and elusive and smarter than I want to give them credit for, but then again, it’s probably why they’ve managed to stick around on this planet for so long.
Here are some tips for killing mosquitoes in the house.
1) Remember, they are about as light as air so if you swat too hard, the wind from your hand motion will airlift them away to safety.
2) They are sensitive to sudden changes in lighting. This means, if they are on the wall and your approaching hand offers shade from the lighting they will notice and they will move away faster than your hand can slam down on them.
3) They don’t much like cold so if you can herd them into the fridge or freezer and close the door before they slip out they will die a slow, tortuous death in the cold.
Just be prepared to see them lying on the fridge shelves or on the jars, cartons, and covered dishes sitting on those shelves.
4) You can use a flyswatter or a shoe to kill a fly but these weapons don’t really help when it comes to killing mosquitoes.
They slow you down, are too cumbersome for the delicate objective and provide too much of a downdraft that actually buffers the mosquito and gives it some lead time to get away. Forget it!
5) Use your hands but don’t smack too hard. There is a very precise speed of clapping or slapping your hands that you need to achieve for maximal efficiency in killing mosquitoes.
It is faster than clapping after a performance of Pachelbel’s Canon, but slower than you’d clap for The Devil Came Down To Georgia.
6) Optimal speed and pressure for the mosquito-killing clap and slap are pivotal to the task at hand of killing mosquitoes successfully.
A sharp eye is also vital because they blend in and disappear as they flit around the room. I can’t tell you in any scientific terms how fast to clap or slap for the best chance of killing a mosquito; that’s something you will have to arrive at yourself through trial and error.
Practice makes perfect! But when one is teasing you about four inches from your nose in perfect clarity, that is precisely not the time to panic and over-reach because it will get away and you will lose your chance. Work hard to refrain from a too-fast and too-hard knee-jerk reaction.
7) You have to keep it in your sight and try to watch it land on a clear and open wall. It is always easier to smack it on a flat wall then in mid-air.
8) Resist the urge to slap so hard that you risk breaking your hand or wrist! Mosquitoes are very small and light and don’t require the degree of strength it takes to wrestle an alligator. One quick and well-aimed slap, clap, or smack should do the trick.
But if you think you caught it between your fingers or in the hollow of your palm, be very careful before you let up or it will fly away unscathed; mosquitoes are masters of the Houdini escape, so never assume you nailed ’em until you are washing off the proof.
9) When you do kill a mosquito, wash your hands immediately. They are full of blood and other guck and those germs need to be stopped, not spread. Also, the quicker you can get to the stain on the wall, the easier it will come off.
10) If you absolutely can’t get the mosquito, it is late at night, and you are losing sleep over it, try aiming some fans at your bed and turn on the paddle fan above your bed if you have one there.
Wind will keep them away, and the more the better. Later, check the walls and ceilings just beyond the range of the fan winds and you will probably see it resting right there.
11) Above all, remember, mosquitoes are age-old experts at bugging us and play their little hide-and-seek game intentionally to mess with our minds.
When it comes to mosquitoes, declare all-out war! Do whatever it takes but don’t back down or feel sorry for them and their whiny annoying little buzz at the last second. We’re all in this together and we’re counting on everyone’s help.
Mosquitoes are the worst part of summer, especially when you are trapped with them inside the house. Follow these guidelines and you will have at least a fighting chance of winning the mosquito war.
These guidelines apply to killing mosquitoes inside the house. Get help from any available mosquito or pest repellents on the market when you are outside. Mosquitoes carry potentially dangerous stuff like Lyme Disease and their bites are annoying at best.