The silent assassins

IMG_2163Unless you are a bit of a masochist, you, like most of us, hate mosquitos. Having lived in Brighton, on the south coast of England for 14 years I got used to not having to bother too much about mosquitos. Why? Well, because there didn’t seem to be any there.

Those 14 years lulled me into thinking that there are no mosquitos in big cities, that mosquitos terrorise only those fools who attempt to spend some lovely relaxing time at a Finnish summer cottage (see the photos below and above of these tranquil settings), or perhaps a swamp in Alabama, US (no photos – I’ve never been there, nor would I want to visit), or some other remote place in close proximity to forests, rivers and/or lakes.

My family has a summer cottage in the Finnish lake district (in central Finland) and even though I love going to the cottage whenever we are in Finland you have to be armed with something similar to a bee keeper outfit to avoid looking like a teenage boy with some serious hormonal problems after spending the first night on the veranda of the cottage admiring the nightless night of the Finnish summer.

IMG_1756

Anyway, the lull is over. I have come to realize that some big cities have mosquitos. Osaka is one of them. (This is probably an idiotic question, but are there mosquitos in other big cities? Cities like New York, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid and Moscow?)

In Osaka,

  • We need to put mosquito spray on every time we go to the park or even just for a drink in a bar beer garden.
  • Kids have to wear mosquito spray at school. In fact, every child in my son’s school is advised to leave a mosquito spray bottle at school so that they can top up during the day.
  • We need to have mosquito nets in each window/sliding door. This is the case even in our 24th floor apartment.

Two things baffle me.

First, how come are there so many mosquitos in Osaka? I mean, Osaka is a pretty big city. There aren’t many parks – and certainly no swamps – in the centre of Osaka (where we live). Where do the little f***ers come from? Do some people from Alabama ferry their mosquitos over to Osaka so that they’d have less in their neck of the wood?

Second, Osaka mosquitos are out of this world! I’m starting to think they are trained by the ninja! The following give examples of their ninja skills.

Osaka mosquitos make their way to impossible locations, like our bloody (no pun intended) 24th floor flat. Like what is that distance relative to their size/speed? I can only assume that they hover on the balcony for hours waiting for someone to open the mosquito net of their balcony door to go and hang some washing out. Presumably 24 floors is too high for them to hear us from the street level and rev up when they hear a balcony door open.

Osaka mosquitos do damage! The bump that you end up with is not just a little itchy dimple. It’s a sore lump the size of a grapefruit. Well…ok… a grape.

Osaka mosquitos are tough. My husband tried to kill one today and he got the mosquito between his palms twice but she just kept on going and eventually flew off to some less hostile hunting grounds.

Lastly, the mosquitos in Osaka seem to have an evolutionary edge over mosquitos, say, in Finland. Come to think of it, Finnish mosquitos seem to have a pretty severe evolutionary defect. How have they even survived natural selection?! You see, mosquitos in Finland make a high-pitched sound when they fly. This is particularly annoying during the night when you can hear that there are mosquito(s) in your bedroom but can’t see them (in order to kill them). Japanese mosquitos on the other hand are as silent as Finnish men are in the bedroom. I don’t know which is worse! In any case, you don’t know that the Osaka mosquitos are there until it’s too late.

Trained by the ninja – I tell you!

16 thoughts on “The silent assassins

  1. I’m not usually affected much by mosquitos, but they seem to be loving me this year. Bad times! Fortunately, we don’t get too many of them in the UK.

  2. How do you know that the mosquito is a female? Maybe this is a trivial question, and maybe those flying around us are always females. What do the male mosquitos do then? Or are there much less male mosquitos than females? 🙂

  3. We do not have many mosquitoes here in western Oregon. We are able to spend time outside any time of day or evening without being bothered by them…no screened porches here. (Speaking of screens, do any Osaka homes use window screens and screen doors instead of mosquito nets?) When my brother and I, ages 5 and 7, spent the summer with our Grandparents in the rolling hills of central Alberta, in Canada, we were initially bitten by so many mosquitoes that we had to spend several days in bed. Since then, mosquitoes have pretty much left me alone, even in mosquito country like Minnesota (with its 10,000 lakes). And no, I can’t imagine how mosquitoes could find your 24th floor apartment, unless a nearby apartment has a portable pond on its deck…!

  4. Oh I can relate. Growing up in Bournemouth we had them. I would be one of the only ones that would attract them and end up with big boil looking lumps too. Probably not as severe as they are in Osaka but they seemed to be. That high pitch fly when you close your eyes at night is just torture!

  5. Thank goodness we don’t have much mosquitoes here, but the sandflies… man those little buggers bite hard! We tend to buy the “tropical strength” bug repellent because your old Finnish Off would probably just make them laugh – even the this strong stuff just seems to make them a bit dizzy, but at least the dizzyness means they don’t bite quite as hard as they would without it… 🙂

  6. They’re most likely ‘viemärihyttynen’ aka sewer mosquitoes or as Wikipedia calls them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Underground_mosquito you can also get them sometimes in Helsinki, vicious creatures that make no sound but they leave much more itchier and bigger damage behind than their lake/forest/cottage counterparts. So yeah sewers, air vents etc. that’s how they can get to your apartment without hovering outside waiting for an open window 😦

    • ‘Forest (or swamp) mosquito’ does not have an appealing ring to it but ‘sewer mosquito’ sounds even less appealing. Eww. Thanks very much for the info though, it would explain why we have mosquitos in our city centre flat in Osaka 🙂

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