Our house has what I call an open door fresh air policy which means any time that we are home all of the doors and windows are open. Like most houses in Barbados, ours does not have any screens, so anything that is outside could possibly find it’s way inside including birds, lizards, rodents, centipedes, frogs and mosquitoes. Fortunately, we haven’t seen any birds, rodents or centipedes in our new house! By the way, we do keep the gates closed to prevent crimes of opportunity.
Periodically the government sprays outdoors for mosquitoes. The first time we noticed, we thought there was a fire somewhere in the neighborhood. After checking our house carefully we went outside looking above and below the house. We asked our neighbor Carlos the rasta-man if he smelled something burning and he told us the odor was from the truck spraying for mosquitoes. I have found out that there are public service announcements in the Nation Newspaper that informs everyone of where and when the chemicals are used.
Indoors, I have been using BOP, an insecticide spray that kills flying and crawling insects. As you probably know, mosquitoes are the carrier of many diseases including malaria, chikungunya, dengue fever and the Zika virus. Mosquitoes are less a problem during the dry season in the summer months. In fact, I remember asking Sandra after my first few summer visits 30+ years ago, if Barbados had mosquitoes?
Bajan Mosquitoes are unusually quick! I rarely kill them by trying to clap them in my hands or against my body. On the other hand, mosquitoes in the states are fat and lazy, I can usually kill them easily. I have been told my technique is all wrong as I start with my hands too far apart. Sandra’s cousin said,“Ya hafta put wanna hands close to geh de mosquita!” Anyway, I started spraying the bugs with BOP and that increased my kill rate to nearly 100%. At night, I would close the windows and spray the bedroom a couple hours before bedtime then open the windows to get the nice sea breeze. Whenever I saw a mosquito I got the BOP.
Finally it occurred to me, if the spray and fumes are deadly to insects, what are they doing to me? I vacillated between which was worse getting bitten by mosquitoes or inhaling the “toxic” fumes. Thankfully, I found a couple of better solutions.
No, it was not getting screens or closing the doors, not yet at least. I bought a personal bug zapper! I love the crackle and loud zap as the mosquitoes die at nearly the same kill rate as BOP. Actually it’s better because I am not inhaling the fumes and I get a little exercise swinging at those little varmints!
Maybe the best solution is to train the mosquitoes! Yes, according to an article in the National Geographic*, mosquitoes can learn to associate near-death experiences with scent and will stay away after an attempted swat. Even if you miss, there’s a good chance the pest won’t target you next time. Nat Geo says the mosquitoes will associate YOUR scent with danger!
So, if you see me at an event in Barbados or anywhere else for that matter and suddenly I turn up the music and start dancing or if I spontaneously jump up and bust a move, it could be one of three things;
- It could be my song!
- It could be the Spirit!
- I could be training mosquitoes!
I can see my future, Calvin McDowell – Retiree, Author, Biker, Mosquito Trainer.
*National Geographic, By Michelle Z.Donahue, Published January 25, 2018,