My top-5 mosquito attacks

Ugh!

Mosquitoes love me. My Mum always tells me it’s because my blood is err… ‘sweet’. A friend told me about a vague scientific study which concluded that people with strong auras tend to attract insects. Whatever the reason, I’ve tried many sorts of insect repellents and none do a satisfactory job of protecting me. Consequence: I always get bitten, sometimes badly. My friends and family love sitting near me because I attract those pesky bloodsuckers away from them. The mosquitoes attack me and my family and friends love to marvel at the massive bumps on my skin. πŸ™

Through the years, I’ve made a pretty sizeable contribution to feeding mosquitoes around the world. My simple swatting efforts to mitigate them pale in comparison. Anyway, for anyone who’s interested, or who can relate to my predicament, I’ve listed my top-5 mosquito attack stories. And to create a wee bit of suspense, I’ve switched the sequence to make it a countdown of my mozzie misery.

Mosquito attack stories

Lang Tengah island

5. Lang Tengah island, Malaysia
I was sitting at a Lang Tengah hotel bar one evening. I was constantly waving my arms around – the little citronella candles on the table didn’t quite do it for me – and the bartender suggested I order a gin & tonic. The quinine in the tonic would ward them off. The other guests at the bar roared with laughter and we all ordered G&T’s. I was still bitten considerably but we had a whale of a time. πŸ™‚

4. Zanzibar, Tanzania
I arrived in Zanzibar after a ten-day safari trip. The beach resort was simply gorgeous: a blindingly white beach, stunning gardens, breezy cabanas, swaying palms… you get the picture.

Zanzibar

A dinner was organised at the poolside on the first evening. We were surrounded by colourful Arabian lamps, trees decorated with fairy-lights and floating candles in the pool – it was so romantic. Unfortunately, there was no romance in the air, just mosquitoes. Or maybe the mosquitoes drove away the romance. The mosquito coils under the table worked well… under the table. My arms and neck were the prime targets. I downed my dinner in 20 minutes, then escaped to the safety of my room.

3. Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo
A four-hour trek through the jungle turned into a bloodbath. And why, oh why, oh why did I wear shorts??!!! I was literally swatting mosquitoes as I removed the leeches from my legs with a knife. My stamping around, flailing arms and constant cries of “bugger off!” scared off every other animal but the mosquitoes. The Bako National Park is famous for its rich fauna – I wouldn’t know… I didn’t spot a single beast.

2. Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Another trek and another mozzie nightmare. The Franz Josef glacier has its origins in the lofty peaks of the Southern Alps and descends gracefully to near sea-level, through a beautiful rainforest. It was a short trek through the rainforest, with its lush ferns and towering trees, to the viewing platform a few hundred yards away from the glacier. We decided to continue our trek across the valley floor (a dry riverbed) to the glacier… and that was, with hindsight, a bad idea. We were soon harassed by swarms of ravenous mosquitoes and I attracted the bulk of them. By the time we returned to the park entrance an hour later, my arms, neck and face were red and puffy.

Trek across the riverbed to the Franz Josef Glacier (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

1. Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Nowadays, when I see a hammock, I think of my Costa Rican nightmare. It was during a visit to the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast. I was having a miserable ‘animal attack’ day: during a six-hour boat-ride and jungle trek, a large caiman almost jumped into the boat (we got a tad too close) and during the trek, I was attacked by a viper (our guide was quick to fend it off).

Tortuguero National Park

We returned to the lodge, totally drained. I found a shady spot near the river bank, climbed into a hammock and fell asleep within moments. Fifteen minutes later, I woke up with a stinging sensation in my back. I climbed out of the hammock and realised that mosquitoes had feasted on my neck, back, arms, legs, my cheeks and my ears! They’d bitten through my cotton t-shirt and flew up the legs of my jeans. The bumps were so big and red that my back and arms looked like the surface of Jupiter! To top it off, the itchiness persisted the whole night and there was nothing anyone could do.

Are you constantly bothered by mosquitoes? Do you have an anti-mosquito tip?

Please share your story/tip in the comments section below.

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51 Responses to “My top-5 mosquito attacks”

  1. The Brinkmanns 08/02/2015 5:02 pm
    #

    Be careful! You don’t want to end up with that nasty Chikungunya stuff. We actually know someone that caught it from one single bite on a trip. Awful!! πŸ™

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs327/en/

  2. velvet 05/09/2012 10:24 am
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    Haha, that’s definitely another excuse to return to Cape Town! πŸ™‚ I’ll be back soon!

  3. LJ de Vos 04/09/2012 10:35 pm
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    Nice one Keith! I’m allergic to all mozzie-fending sprays, creams, coils… so when in mozzie territory I’m considered a free for all buffet. Since moving to Cape Town a year ago, I’ve not been bitten once. You know you want to visit again anyway though, so now you’ve got a great excuse.

  4. Mauricio de Souza 09/07/2012 2:01 pm
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    Mosquitoes love me too. I can still see where I was bitten after a trip to the Island of St.Barths a few years ago.. I usually take garlic pills and was told that mosquitoes don’t like the smell. Also I always take with me Buzz Away mosquito repellent. These products can be bought at Wholefoods supermarket in the USA and at the Wholefoods supermarket in London.

  5. velvet 22/11/2011 12:57 am
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    Freshly-squeezed lime juice works? Wow! Thanks for the tip. Will definitely give it a try next time I’m in the tropics.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  6. AT 22/11/2011 12:36 am
    #

    I have used everything, deet products seem to be the most effective but I hate using the poison. Avon skin so soft did not work at all. My #1 favourite Mozy repellant is fresh squeezed lime juice! Rub it all over exposed areas and once dry leaves your skin smooth and soft.

  7. Hannah 25/01/2011 6:41 am
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    I’ve never met anyone else who gets bitten by mosquitoes as much as I do! The last time I went camping, by the time we got home, I had to have over 100 mosquito bites all over – my back, stomach, arms, legs, neck, face were all covered with bites. I legitimately looked like I was completely covered in hives!

    Not only do I always get bitten like crazy, my mosquito bites always end up getting really big; there’s been times when I’ve been bitten so many times in such a small area it looks like one giant bite. Once I counted over 30 bites just on one leg!

  8. santafetraveler 23/01/2011 4:12 am
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    Not going to the jungle or tropics with you my friend. I live in rattlesnake country and in almost 15 years I’ve seen one (from the car).
    For bugs and to build the immune system as you attract them- ask me about essential oils.

  9. velvet 20/01/2011 6:11 pm
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    Hi Kat,
    Thank you for your comment. So sorry to hear about your fiance contracting malaria. I hope he gets well soon.

    Best,
    Keith

  10. Kat 20/01/2011 6:09 pm
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    Great info to bookmark, thanks for putting this out there! I would not visit any of these spots without taking preventative malaria meds… Especially because my fiance was just diagnosed with malaria yesterday – three weeks after our honeymoon on Koh Chang πŸ™ I feel awful for him! But, interesting mosquito fact: the CDC here in the US doesn’t advise taking malaria meds when traveling to Thailand. I def. won’t be fooled again – malaria is awful!

  11. Michl Scheller 16/09/2010 6:51 pm
    #

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
    Keep working ,great job!

  12. velvet 15/09/2010 11:57 pm
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    Thanks so much for doing the research and posting it here Billie!

    Lots of hugs,
    Keith

  13. santafetraveler 15/09/2010 7:01 pm
    #

    At Keith’s request, I am posting the essential oils to discourage mosquitoes I Tweeted him here:

    Mosquito herbs- lavender, Geranium & Eucalyptus. (Home infestation- Peppermint & Basil. The first three- put a few drops each in a spray bottle and add 2 to 8 oz purified water and yes, spray (your skin) watch out for your eyes. For the other two, ten drops each in an 8 oz bottle of purified water Get 100% pure oils! An oil can say “pure” and be 51% oil with additives and extenders. Also, you want organically grown of sustainably wild-crafted oils. Quality is important. There is also a pre-made spray that includes Citronella. If you are in a place where there are known disease-carrying mosquitoes, there are a few oils that can help your immune system. If you are interested in buying great oils or the bug spray, @ thesantafetraveler on Twitter.

  14. Trans-Americas Journey 15/09/2010 2:55 am
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    Trust me Keith, the racket is a blast and so satisfying when they are swarming.

  15. velvet 14/09/2010 11:04 pm
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    The mosquito racket? Hahahaha! πŸ™‚ Good one!

  16. velvet 14/09/2010 11:03 pm
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    Dengue? Yikes, that’s nasty. My best friend got it earlier this year in Indonesia and took him ages to get over it as well.

  17. Trans-Americas Journey 14/09/2010 10:56 pm
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    Argh! The dreaded mozy. Picked up 2 of these recently when we were in Merida Mexico. May not solve the problem, but it sure is gratifying. The mosquito racket – http://bit.ly/doYUuR

  18. Michele Peterson 14/09/2010 10:30 pm
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    Yep, mosquitoes love me too – managed to get dengue in Guatemala last year. Took a long time to get over that one!

  19. velvet 14/09/2010 10:25 pm
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    Hi Billie,
    I could use some of those essential oils! I was bitten all over on my last trip back to Malaysia. Those mosquitoes never tire of me! πŸ™‚

    Hugs,
    Keith

  20. santafetraveler 14/09/2010 10:23 pm
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    I use really pure essential oils. There is also a totally pure bug spray available- no more Deet. If anyone wants info @ me on Twitter- santafetraveler

  21. Jeremy B 27/07/2010 10:54 pm
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    I don’t know that mosquitoes love anyone more than me! This would be really funny if I didn’t relate to what you were saying.

    I remember on an excursion on the Na Pali coast in Kauai that I actually understood what it felt like to bot be a mosquito magnet. Another woman was being swarmed so I was off the hook.

    I hate to say this but one of my considerations for travel is how hot, humid, and how many mosquitoes there are. When they love, it can make the best trip miserable!

  22. Skye 14/07/2010 1:07 am
    #

    I think I definitely fall into the category of “mosquito magnet” with you guys! I’m always the one who ends up bitten all over and everyone else has only one or two bites. The last time we went camping, some mosquitoes must have either bitten through my shirt or gotten up inside of it, because I had over 35 mosquito bites on my back alone! Not to mention the other mosquito bites on my arms, legs, and face! Of course, it’s not enough to get hundreds of mosquito bites all the time, I react pretty badly to them too. They almost always without fail get to be at least quarter sized, usually bigger!

  23. velvet 02/06/2010 11:09 am
    #

    Hi Kaylin,

    Thanks for your comment. By the looks of it, you take the cake! I thought I had it bad but you get the trophy in the Mozzie Magnet Club! πŸ™‚
    Take care, be well and keep those pesky bloodsuckers away!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  24. Kaylin 02/06/2010 3:38 am
    #

    I too am one of the unfortunates who gets bitten all the time. I tell my friends, “If anyone is going to get bitten, it’ll be me.” When I was in Fiji last year, (for 6 weeks) I think I had a good 30 bites at any given time over the course of the trip. Some would heal and I’d wake up the next day with 5 or 6 new ones on my feet and elbows (places which accidentally touched the mosquito net at night)… or I’d go to relieve myself in the forest and come back with several new bites on my rear end!
    Recently I’ve been having a really hard time at home in Alabama, with bites swelling to the size of a quarter or bigger and lasting for days and days. I had two right next to each other on my inner right ankle that were so bad they turned purple and lasted like that for more than a week! These bites have happened mostly at night in my bed (while I’m under covers!) so I’ve been spraying myself down with (smelly but effective) Off! with deet which has helped alot. Also, I just try not to go outside at all during dusk hours unless I’m wearing long pants and sleeves.

  25. Masrk H 25/05/2010 7:43 am
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    I have managed to get malaria (from Africa). The only good news is I was “safely” back in Australia when it took hold and hence the health system did a good job once they worked out what I had (took a fair while). I have never felt so ill in all my life – do everything in your power to avoid it. Saying that, the worst mosquitoes I’ve seen are in the north of the Scandinavian countries in summer. There is so many they could almost carry you away and they sem oversized. I guess they are dosed on excitement of the short summer months when they finally get to strut their stuff but they are incredibly bad.

  26. Rob 08/05/2010 8:17 pm
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    sooo funny….. and sad off course… your stories..

  27. ciki 27/04/2010 9:32 am
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    O.U.C.H

    u must be blood O type. Are you? suppose to attract the mosquitoes like crazy:P

  28. velvet 24/04/2010 7:58 pm
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    Haha! Welcome to the Mozzie Magnet Club! πŸ™‚

  29. mangosyrup 24/04/2010 7:05 pm
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    The worst two mosquito attacks happened on both of my trips to Jamaica. First trip I received 6 bites on my ankle which swelled to twice its size. Second trip I spent in Spanish Town with basic accomodation (no running water) and as a Jamaican would say “Dem nyam mi up.” A week later I had 89 welt sized bites as if I had a disease. LOL

  30. velvet 23/04/2010 10:12 am
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    Wow, you counted them? No, not a fun experience at all.
    Welcome to the Mozzie Magnet Club! πŸ™‚

  31. Nomadic Matt 23/04/2010 10:00 am
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    I got 45 bites while in Belize. Not fun.

  32. velvet 22/04/2010 4:32 pm
    #

    Yikes! That makes you an honorary member of the Mozzie Magnet Club Brian! πŸ™‚

  33. Brian 22/04/2010 4:30 pm
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    Count me in – they love me here in Puerto Rico, though I think my immune system is building up the resistance, don’t have as many reactions as in the past.

    But the worst bite I have ever had was in of all places Tampa, Florida. The reaction was so severe, that my left calf swelled to about twice its normal size. Spent the next few days in a daze on the couch thanks to Benedryl :o)

  34. velvet 22/04/2010 2:57 pm
    #

    Oh, that sounds soooo familiar!

    Welcome to the Mozzie Magnet Club! πŸ™‚

  35. TravelDesigned 22/04/2010 2:54 pm
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    Glad to see I am not the only one who is sweet or has a powerful aura πŸ™‚
    My top attack was at a villa on the south coast of Jamaica. When we woke up from the minutes of sleep after the buzzing in our ears stopped— we looked like we had chicken pox! πŸ™

  36. velvet 22/04/2010 10:38 am
    #

    Brilliant comment and excellent tips Teri! Thanks so much.
    I’m not going to vie with you for the top-ranking spot in the Mozzie Magnet Club. πŸ™‚

    Club Members Unite!

  37. Traveling Teri 22/04/2010 6:03 am
    #

    Though polls have yet to confirm my official status, I am said to be a top-ranking, unwilling member of the “Mosquitoes Love Me” club. Mosquitoes across the world have dubbed me β€œBest meal in town!” I am the main course at any meal those gluttonous pests decide to gobble down around the globe. From those who are not members of this club, I have frequently heard the comment about being so sweet the mosquitoes can’t resist me. Well intentioned though their words may be, they do nothing to relieve the suffering of those irritable bites or stop them from occurring in the first place! So my friend and fellow club member, I share with you a few things I’ve found to alleviate the suffering that may, perhaps, revoke our membership forever! (Okay, that is admittedly much too hopeful and unrealistic a statement):
    1) Never wear anything scented when you know you will be exposed.
    2) Even when it’s hot, wear long sleeves and repellent.
    3) Avon’s Soft Sense sometimes works, couldn’t explain the randomness of it.
    4) Use lemon and eucalyptus scents around where you’ll be sitting, sleeping, eating, or exposed. I carry some essential oils for this purpose. (Not to be worn on your skin, just to dowse something near you.)
    5) My new favorite is an individually wrapped mosquito wipe/sunscreen product (ITW/Dymon) that fits nicely in my backpack and I can pull out frequently to re-apply.
    May this short list help you in your fight against those dreaded blood suckers. Club Members Unite in the fight!

  38. Ted Nelson 21/04/2010 3:21 am
    #

    One of our first camping trips was in Wisconsin and we camped on a friend’s farm. There was a swamp right behind our camp spot. We had this screen tent that we put up over the picnic table. The screen tent was covered with mosquitoes and they swarmed us every time we left the sanctuary of the tent. We now use that campsite as the barometer of mosquitoes. We call it the Flood’s Farm barometer. Looks like you have 5 spots that would go down as an 8,9, or 10 on the Flood Farm scale.

  39. velvet 20/04/2010 9:57 am
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    Haha, way too many to mention Sonya! I’m a true mozzie magnet! πŸ™‚

  40. lisa 20/04/2010 7:47 am
    #

    Hi… um, sorry to hear the mosquitos love you. I’m one they tend not to bite. Not sure why. I’d heard it helped to eat alot of garlic. I do. Maybe it can help you out some. Stay healthy.

  41. Sonya 20/04/2010 2:17 am
    #

    What an absolutely fab topic for a blog post! So if this is your Top 5 list of mosquito attacks, how many memorable ones have you had?

  42. Slow Overalls 19/04/2010 10:41 pm
    #

    I have the same problem! I always joke with the 2 girls I travel with that I will take care of the mosquitoes and they can take care of the sunburns. The worst I was ever bitten was in Mompiche, Ecuador. The main target was the soles of my feet. My only tip is to wear socks over heavily bitten feet at night – it makes them harder to scratch.

  43. Jan 19/04/2010 9:20 pm
    #

    Preparing for trip to Malaysia/Borneo.. bad news for me – I was still thinking that there must be some magic water which keeps them away πŸ™

  44. velvet 19/04/2010 7:07 pm
    #

    Oh goodie! Glad to welcome you to the Mozzie Club Lilian! πŸ™‚

  45. Lilian 19/04/2010 5:40 pm
    #

    I hate mosquitoes too, but unfortunately they love me =(
    No tips but to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants in mosquito-prone areas.

    And maybe bring someone who is even more “attractive” to mosquitoes along with you =P

  46. velvet 19/04/2010 2:22 pm
    #

    Hahaha, thanks Greta. Great way to look at it. πŸ™‚ Yes, I must have a very strong aura. πŸ˜‰

  47. Greta 19/04/2010 2:21 pm
    #

    I have a couple of friends with that same mosquito attracting aura. I don’t envy them, since I live in Georgia this can mean several months of torture. I think if you are going to get bitten it might as well have a good side so, I hope it means that you have a strong aura.

  48. velvet 19/04/2010 2:04 pm
    #

    Awesome! Thanks Jen. πŸ™‚
    I was using anti-malaria medication in Zanzibar but I was still quite concerned. Mozzies aren’t my best friends!

  49. jen Laceda 19/04/2010 1:50 pm
    #

    Yikes! I hate mosquitos! Especially when they’re carrying malaria! Hope you never get bitten by those. By the way, /i saw your Blog Hop contest! Cool! Will head over there now to see contest rules!

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