MOSQUITO screens, NETS and repellents
By Tina Andlaw
Living in Andalucia is bliss to many people, however during summer months, mosquitoes can blight our nights and cause untold grief and lack of sleep: we have all been there, dozing off in bed, only to be stirred by the faint and ever ascending scream of our resident mosquitoes, ready for another nocturnal feast.
Mosquito Nets and Screens
One of the oldest methods for keeping these insects at bay is to create a barrier between us and them. Mosquito nets come in many shapes, sizes and designs. These range from mosquito nets for beds to modern day net systems and window screens that provide a completely hermetically sealed, physical barrier between insects and the interior of our homes. Nets and screens can also protect balconies and terraces to allow comfortable al fresco living. These balcony net systems are either hung visibly like curtains or supported by specially designed retractable frames.
Many modern designs are currently on offer but all have one thing in common: they keep mosquitoes out with as little aesthetic interference as possible (or, in the case of mosquito nets for bedrooms, they are often designed as a fashion accessory). In fact, discrete window frames for screens come in a variety of materials, including various colours of aluminium, PVC or wood to blend in unobtrusively.
Many modern systems are sold as kits that are easy to assemble and install. They can be permanently fixed or on sliding systems and often include a self-cleaning module.
Mosquito RepellentsThere are a wide variety of mosquito repellents on the Spanish market today. These range from the most carefully controlled and medically formulated products sold at chemists to the wide array of creams and sprays available at supermarkets and other commercial centres, to a wide array of alternative products that are sold through more exclusive outlets such as luxury hotels and spas or at natural health shops (herboristerías).
Given the modern day concern regarding synthetic chemicals – or even just highly concentrated natural chemicals, many people are interested in “natural” mosquito repellents. These are available, but you may need to search harder to find them. Some chemists offer a few natural alternatives, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Products with a natural focus tend to congregate – not surprisingly – at the natural health shops, at luxury hotels and spas.
Citronella is a popular form of natural repellent in southern Spain. It is sold in sticky tablets at chemists. These can be stuck around a bed or on deck chairs. Citronella candles are supposed to help keep the bugs away as well.
PesticidesIt is common to confuse mosquito repellents with pesticides. Keep in mind that repelling insects and actually annihilating them are two very different tasks. In general, the “anti-mosquito” machines that plug into an outlet are designed to release chemicals that act on a mosquitoes’ nervous system to eventually kill the insect. There are numerous pesticide sprays on the market. All of these products should be used with extreme caution, especially where children are concerned.