It’s foggy in Penang today

It all starts with a note in the letterbox in the morning.

notice from MPPP

A neighbour kindly translates.  The local council will carry out one of its periodical “fogging” operations.  They will come sometime today and spray vast amounts of insecticide to kill mosquitoes, and thus hopefully reduce or eliminate malaria and dengue fever.

The first thing you hear is some strange sound.  Like a deep roaring annoying engine.  And you go and look outside to see an encroaching fog.

the fog comes

The smell is not too bad – but you imagine that it’s toxic, so you race around and close all the windows.

Dengue busters

They will come in and spray your garden, too.

Take that, mosquitoes

Despite closing the windows the spray seeps in.

visibility reduces

and they disappear into the fog

zero visibility

N.B. I like to wash the plants down a while later, as I think they don’t really like the spray.

Living with (or even better, without) mosquitoes

Living in the tropics unfortunately means year round mosquitoes.

Of course, the main danger with mosquitoes is that they are a vector (I’ve always wanted to use that word) for malaria and dengue fever.

If a mosquito of a certain type  bites someone who has either of these they will become a carrier.  Then if they bite someone else the person bitten may contract the disease.

Most carriers are apparently illegal immigrants who brought it with them to Malaysia – it’s actually quite unlikely you will stay or go to the same places as them. A possible exception is construction workers building a condo near where you are.  Nevetheless, mosquitoes do not travel very far.

So, how to avoid mosquitoes.:

  • Live in a condo on the 8th floor or above
  • Close your windows around 6PM and don’t open them again until 8AM
  • Alternatively, have insect screens on your windows
  • Buy a mosquito attracting device –   a UV light and fan that attracts them and then traps them.
  • Do not leave water in containers that will allow them to breed
  • Cover your skin with long sleeves etc. in the evenings if you are outside and there will be no breeze
  • If you suspect none of the above will be sufficient, use an insect repellant wipe – much more effective than a spray.
  • And if this is still not enough you can buy an electric  mosquito killing racquet.  It’s rechargeable and much better than using a spray if you can see the mosquito.
  • Mosquito netting for your bed would work, but is overkill for Penang.

And, inevitably, you will get bitten.  I apply a collodial silver gel, which I make myself – in a few minutes the itchiness is gone, and a little later so is the lump from the bite.  I will cover colloidal silver in a future blog, but you can google it.

It is very unlikely that an expat will contract either of these diseases, but I always keep MMS on hand in case I contract either dengue or malaria.  MMS will be the topic of a future blog, too, but you can see

Malaysia is experimenting with genetically modified mosquitoes to make it difficult for disease carrying mosquitoes to breed – so far all genetic modification has been a disaster with food.  Doing it with mosquitoes in the wild is scary to me.

Unsurprisingly, there are male and female mosquitoes.  Males are vegetarians all their lives and will not bite you.  Females will only bite you at the end of their life cycle to lay eggs, because they need extra protein, and will bite on average four times to get the nutrition they need – this last figure being contentious.  Females’ probiscus is much bigger than the males’ – that is how you can tell them apart – at least after you have killed them.  They like blood type O best.

So, sleep tight, and don’t let the mosquitoes bite.