Each year, I define the beginning of summer by my first Tiger Mosquito bite. This year, for example, we only had two days of Spring. Two days between the last really cold day of winter and my first bite from that band of vicious insects that are invading every country across the globe with the velocity of Global Warming itself.
Actually, I should call them ‘bitches’, since only the females bite. They use our blood as a driving source of protein through the reproductive phase. They really suck too. They hoover between 2 and 6 millilitres of blood per bite – that’s over a teaspoon! By then end of the summer they will have gotten more than they take when I donate blood!
The kicker is that, if everyone pitched in, we could probably eliminate them.
Of course, this would take convincing my small-town Italian neighbors to not water their gardens so frequently, perhaps purchase native plants that require less water, and (God forbid) refrain from using sottovase (tray under vases).
Ever since West Nile popped up in the US, these guys have been getting more media coverage. But humid Emilia has been dealing with them since the 90’s.
If you’re curious about what you can do to reduce the populations of Tiger Mosquitos in your neighborhood, check out these tips:
1. Do not leave standing water ANYWHERE.
They will still find drops in crevices of plants and trees, and you can’t do much about that. But you don’t have to throw them a welcoming party, either.
2. Don’t over-water your garden,
and chose plants that are native or adapted to the summer rain cycle of Italy.
3. Be aware of their feeding cycles.
Remember more of our blood means more of their eggs. Females reproduce just after a meal. Protect your dog as well – they can carry heart-worm! Here are some links to learn more about these little suckers:
4. Save the planet. Prevent Global Warming.
Oh yeah. And please save the planet, while you’re at it. Global warming means more of these heat-loving pests. Even if you don’t care about the planet, please consider the effect it could have on your outdoor summer social life.
8 thoughts on “A call to arms: my war with the local militia of Tiger Mosquitos (Zanzare Tigre)”
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Great tips…though we found even worse than the zanzare were the papatacci. Small and dun colored, we never saw them, but they bit my youngest two so badly that at one point, Gabe had at least a hundred bites on each leg. And the welts itched for weeks. By the end, even in summer, I had: both kids sleeping in winter jammies and socks, a fan going all night right on them, bug repellant on even non-exposed skin, and mosquito balls plugged in. It’s the one thing about Italy I’m NOT missing.
papatacci?! I am not familiar with these beasts! hmmmm. They sound nasty. What part of Italy?
I find here in Sicily, particularly in older houses the humidity keeps the zanzare alive through most of autumn/fall and then there are those nasty buggers the cosi detti ‘moscerini’ or midges, they are tiny but deadly when it come to biting you when you least expect it, like while you are trying to write a post at your computer, little buggers!!
I did have an encounter with moscerini in Sicily, and I must say… it was not pleasant. Fortunately we don’t have them up here … yet … (thank you for reminding us, Mr. IPCC report).
I am being bitten by one as I reply to your comment. Damned things!!
hurry, bite him back!
I wish I could only:
a)He/she is too tiny
b) That would be disgusting, I’d totally have to brush my teeth, do a mouthwash or vomit!