There are a lot of Mosquitoes here.
This may not be a surprise to most of you as the words Malaria and Africa not uncommonly found in close proximity.
Though the disease continues to be a major issue for many in developing nations, it is preventable and treatable. One’s immune system develops an certain defense to it. If this was not the case, you’d be suffering from it weekly, due to the sheer number Mosquitoes, in some areas.
It is essentially shorts weather at all times and one of the main things preventing one from enjoying that has to be Mosquitoes. They seem to be everywhere. Their annoying buzz as they hover just behind your ears! I was hospitalized back in the early 90’s with Malaria, this could be part of why they irk so much.
Mosquitoes do not hunt by sight, they are mostly attracted to Carbon Dioxide, first learned this odd lil’ nugget while reading this odd freaky manga by the name of Manhole. Which means those like myself, with a high at rest body temperature, will attract more mosquitoes. Their general nuisance cannot be understated. I could be sitting at computer, enthralled by some work only to take a break and notice several bites on my fingers. There are even the baffling cases of an eye-lid bite…just die, mosquitoes. I do loathe you.
Here are some of the tools in the constant war against the Mosquito Menace.
Flame Based warfare: This is an example of one of the Anti mosquito coils that you can light. It would slowly burn around the coil letting out whatever chems are supposedly going to keep the Mosquitoes away. As they do give off a distinct aroma, and occasionally some smoke the candle variants may be preferable. These come in wax or gel and are available in a wider range of scents.
Electric Based Warfare: Pictured is a plug-in, Liquid Mosquito Repellent. The liquid container is replaceable, with the refills running about 350 Kshs ($4) and advertised to last 60 nights. Works by electrical heating a black rod that is inserted into the liquid, which then evaporates and does something or rather to the mosquitoes. I currently have one in my room. It does not entirely eliminate mosquitoes from the room, but it seems to reduce how often they bite.
Aerosol Based Warfare: The smaller guy there ran me about 4oo kshs, and lasted a few days. I mistrust these. Whatever that death-dealing chemical concoction may be contained within, I have reservations about inhaling it. This applies to the forms of repellents above as well. I would often spray the room and return after the general particulate is out of the air, but the other 2 forms actually fill the room up with whatever it is… which i should look into but can’t be bothered to TBH.
Non Chemical Warfare: Swatters, hands nets etc. I have become pretty skilled at grabbing them out of the air. One night I counted over 15 killed by hand. Grabbing or clapping them is far more effective than trying to use a swatter, slipper or other tool.
Then you have the Mosquito net. They can come treated with insecticide but the reduction of the inhaling of mysterious concoctions is a definite plus. A decent one can be had for roughly 1,000 kshs ($12). As they are primarily are designed for a bed when I relied solely on nets, I would wear long sleeves and pants in the house, especially at night. I am currently using a futon in my room which prevents me form using the net I once used as it includes a solid contraption that is kept erect by having its bottom go under the mattress. No matter the style of net, the lil buggers seem to have a way of getting in. You would want to spend some time clearing it before laying for the night. You then will have the joy of trying to sleep to the lullaby of them buzzing right outside the net. A few mornings you will wake up to find a slow flying mosquito or two in there with you.
If you kill it you will find it is full of your blood.
You may wonder why I say ‘if.’ Well I looked into mosquitoes more after once thinking I wish they would just disappear form the world. Mosquitoes and Flies are two of the main nuisances here in Kenya and pretty much the only creatures I felt like killing on sight. I found out were that they actually are a big part of the food-chain for birds and other insects. The larger ones are Males (roughly 5 times larger with the added noise nuisance of flying into things repeatedly) and never bite and the smaller are female and do. Why is this? The Females bite when they have young to feed. They are actually mothers going to go feed their young with your blood. So a little “awww” about that has me thinking you may as well let the mom go if she has already bitten you… but then in most cases letting her go means she is off to feed a swarm of these lil buggers…
So there you have it, the second This is Nairobi post. Another sort of negative one about something I just have to come to terms with. There will be some positive ones. Eventually.
- First post of the series : This is Nairobi : Power Outages
Video of the Post : Project Loon
There was an interesting argument a few years ago where Bill Gates was unimpressed by Google’s Project Loon, saying “When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you,” in an interview with BusinessWeek. Having frequently seen how Mosquito nets are used when available (example pictured to the right), I thought the idea of getting people the information on the connection of malaria to mosquitoes, may result in people actually making it a high priority to have one over the other amenities, meager as they may be, that they may consider to be more valuable. Who knows though, many people smoking cigarettes or eating unhealthily are not exactly oblivious to the potential risks.