MOSQUITOS!!

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun & Riviera Maya' started by V, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    The rainy season may at last be getting under way here in Cancun, and with it will come more of those tiny, black, relatively slow flying mosquitoes that bite mainly the lower legs and feet, most often at dusk and dawn. With these I can't say, as I have for years, that I'm safe from mosquitoes whenever my wife is seated at the same table, because these seem to have no male/female preference!

    As it turns out, these types are especially attracted to the odor of feet. (I guess I better break out the foot powder!) The odor that attracts them is produced by the same bacterium, Brevibacterium linens, that is used to make Limburger Cheese.

    Whatever the science of it, and whatever type of mosquitoes these little ones are, I hate them and love to kill them when they land in their first attempts to make off with their precious cargo. They are slow flying, so you can't really say it's good sport, but killing one means it's no longer free to bite; nor is it free to go and reproduce more of it's annoying, and potentially dangerous, offspring.

    Cancun has a reasonably good mosquito/mosquito borne, disease suppression program in place, and those of you who are up in the middle of the night, or are easily awakened, may see or hear the trucks going by, spraying for mosquitoes as we sleep- getting this unfortunate, but necessary, job done while avoiding exposing the population to excessive amounts of insecticide.

    This is one area where the city has done, and continues to do, a pretty effective job; while managing, at the same time, to avoid the bad publicity that results from even one tourist returning home only to become ill, having contracted malaria, dengue, or West Nile Encephalitis during his visit.

    Thank you, Cancun!
     
  2. rawkus

    rawkus I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Well, our park is the breeding ground of these gosh darn mozzies, but the car comes by on our street, not even looking at the park :(

    Literally 100`s and 100`s of these suckers attack you and your dogs when taking them out...

    I have spoken to the council, starting 2 years ago(!!) but NOTHING has been done about the park. Even their own workers have given letters with signatures(the cops we have patrolling daily/nightly have signed and complained) but nada...

    Isnt the point of pest control to go for the nests/breeding areas?

    Im sure the excuse would be that it will "kill the plants", but considering the vegetation is kind of dead anyway, we have nothing to lose, right? :roll:

    When I lived in Cairns(Australia) the local government planted plants that mosquitoes literally HATE - that would be a great solution and eco-friendly ;)

    Just be sure to control these foreign plants of course :)
     
  3. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    That's a shame, Rawkus, 'cause it sure takes the fun out of getting out, early AM or PM, just the times when you might want to be walking your dog.

    We live near Puerto Cancun, and part of the project plan was to preserve sufficient mangros in the area to give it a hint of natural feel. Problem is, those darned mosquitoes. As you described, they attack en mass, and forget that their supposed to prefer the feet; instead, going for the whole body in one, great competitive rush. As a result, we've all but given up walking there at dawn, or dusk, as we're too busy slapping to be able to enjoy the otherwise attractive environment. We don't usually use mosquito repellent, finding it a little repellent, ourselves, but we may just have to start.
     
  4. CancunMole

    CancunMole Addict Registered Member

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    You can use dryer wipes, the ones for the clothes dryer, as a mosquito repellent. I know it sounds crazy but they really work. All you need is to put one hanging out a pocket, through a belt loop or your sock/shoe. Works for animals too.

    A great foot powder that we get down there and bring back with us is Mexsana.
     
  5. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

    I have the understanding that the mosquitoes in Cancun are far more likely to carry Dengue than Malaria. I understand that the Malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the Yucatan live far inland. Personally I haven't heard of a single case of Malaria in the 6 years I've lived here. But I've known at least 10 people who have gotten Dengue. So what I've seen fits what I've heard and read.

    They sometimes spray the Parque Kabah for mosquitoes. And afterward I always notice many fewer Iguanas. I think the Iguanas suffer either from the lack of bugs to eat, or from the insecticide, or both.

    We always close up the house when the truck comes to spray our street. I don't want that shit in my air.

    From what I've seen finding Deet-free mosquito repellent here is all but impossible. If anyone knows where to get some please speak up. I am always sure to buy some when I'm in the US, but we are now running low and need more.
     
  6. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Mosquito borne disease eradication

    Thanks, Mole, for the suggestions. We'll try them both!

    RG, you're exactly right to close up your house when they're spraying: the less insecticide you breathe, the better.

    Public health concerns often require a trade off of some kind. In this case, the risk of the eradication campaign to health must be weighed against what would happen in the absence of it. You mentioned that, even though Cancun has an eradication program, there are still enough dengue carrying mosquitoes in the environment for you to have personally known ten people who've had it.

    Both malaria and dengue prevention require effective control of mosquito populations. If there are no cases of malaria in Cancun, it is a measure of the effectiveness of the current program, in relation to that one disease. Malaria and dengue are not carried by the same mosquito, and it may very well be that the insecticides are more effective against the one, than the other.

    There was a significant outbreak of malaria in Cancun that occurred before you arrived here, in late 1999-early 2000. It made the international news as both Canadians, and Americans returned home from holidays here, only to sicken with malaria.

    The malaria carrying mosquito anopheles albimanus is ubiquitous in Quintana Roo. In countries where malaria is a significant problem, bed netting becomes useful, and recommended, because this mosquito will feed in the dark. (Have you ever thought there was something elegant/romantic looking, about a bed draped in mosquito netting? I have.)

    Should we be alarmed? Well, no, because mosquitoes are being dealt with in the metropolitan areas, including Cancun. Additionally, in order for you to catch malaria, the mosquito that bites you must, itself, have picked up the parasite from a host, at some time before biting you.

    Here, there is no need to take anything other than routine precautions, avoiding mosquito bites in whatever way works best for you. That can mean staying indoors during the peak biting times of day; or, using an appropriate repellent.
     
  7. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Mosquitoes

    I had intended this thread to be light when I first posted, but I suppose my mention of malaria guaranteed it wouldn't be for long; and, then, when Rivergirl mentioned that she had known ten people who contracted dengue fever, here in Cancun, it was no longer a joking matter. I lived in SE Asia for five years, where dengue fever is prevalent, and I only ever knew two people who had had it, and dengue fever is, itself, a serious matter.

    For anyone who has been made a little uneasy, and wants more authoritative information about this part of Mexico, there is a nice summary of the recommendations, with regard to malaria, compiled from WHO and other sources, at page 4, item 38, of the following PDF file:

    http://www.iamat.org/pdf/world_malaria_risk_chart.pdf

    What you'll notice there, is that the larger cities in the Yucatan Peninsula, with their very active programs of mosquito control, are the ones considered "malaria free". Anything less than that level of effort, and malaria could again appear, even in those cities, as it did in Cancun, in 1999-2000. (I didn't look at weather data for that period, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't a particularly rainy year.)

    Keeping mosquitoes out of your house, and taking time to immediately kill any you see inside, is the best first line of defense. When hunting mosquitoes indoors, take time to shoo them out from under beds and tables where they may be resting. You'll be surprised how many you can find there, at times, when you thought you had no mosquitoes in the house, but were still being bitten.

    My wife has worked in public health campaigns to promote the use of insecticide impregnated mosquito nets in rural areas as a way of preventing malarial infections. They are highly effective when conscientiously used, preventing the user from being bitten while they sleep.

    The mosquitoes most responsible for dengue, on the other hand, mainly aedes aegypti, tend to bite during the daylight hours, and indoors at night in rooms where the lights are on. Turn the lights off, and they will often rest on the walls. Selectively spraying the walls with insecticides, after you determine where they like to rest, can be effective in reducing the number of mosquitoes, indoors.

    Birds are harassed by mosquitoes as badly as humans, with the mosquitoes biting birds in their only vulnerable area, the eyelids, as they try to sleep.

    Could this explain why birds get up so early in the morning? Poor things.

    Worrying about catching things, from mosquitoes or otherwise, can easily get out of hand, as you know. The risk of catching malaria, or dengue for that matter, in Cancun- always low- approaches zero, practically speaking, when you're just a little careful. No one should ever let concern about this issue keep them from visiting and enjoying Cancun.
     
  8. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    LOSING THE BATTLE

    Is anybody overrun with mosquitos, now, like I am? I've got them in the house, in spite of my best efforts. To cut down the number hanging around our front door, I sprayed insecticides on the walls and ceilings at the entry. That dropped the number that were hanging out there, but didn't solve the problem.
    _____________________

    The city, and the Dept of Health are also losing the battle, at the moment, but they're fighting back. Novedades reported that a brigade of 500 workers was being sent out by the Department of Health, Northern Zone, Sanitary Jurisdiction No.2 to locate and eliminate, where possible, places where the Aedes Aegypti, the dengue carrying mosquito, are breeding.

    All of this is, of course, a drop in the bucket, but maybe they'll also pick up the spraying effort, now that the mosquito population has broken through the control.

    There have been 212 cases of dengue this year, so far, in the Northern Zone, of which we are a part.

    It only makes sense to try to limit the number of bites you get. Anybody who allows mosquitoes to freely feed on them is taking an unnecessary, and serious, risk with their health.

    Having dengue once, does not protect you. There are four different viruses that cause it. It is common for each successive case you have to be worse than the one before, often making hospitalization necessary; and, bringing with it months of suffering, afterward, if you don't die from it.
     
  9. CancunCanuck

    CancunCanuck Guest

    YES, huge mozzie problem right now, we're itching like mad!

    The Raid plugins work pretty well (and smell ok too). Just put in a fresh one, the little buggers are everywhere!
     
  10. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

    Raid plugins work but totally irritate my lungs, big yuck, can't use them anymore. Cough, hack, gag.

    We bought these electronic gizmos at Costco that help a lot to keep mosquitoes and other bugs out of the house. They aren't perfect, but definitely made a big difference.

    And we bought a leaf blower recently, which is very effective at blowing away bugs from the yard...of course it doesn't keep them away...but it sure is fun to blow those buggers away at 150 MPH. [Although we have to be very careful not to blow away hubby's 3 pet handwriting spiders, who each have big webs in the back yard.]
     
  11. T.J.

    T.J. I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    I hate the little buggers. I spray so much Baygon that my ex neighbors used to ask me not to spray as they thought it would kill their dogs.

    Plus I always have Off Deep Woods (smuggled in from the US) in my car. This is the best repellant available.

    A friend of mine had the "Dengue Hemorrhagic" version a couple of years ago. This is the type that is deadly and causes bleeding through the mucus membranes. She luckily survived. This is spread by the aedes aegypti species of mosquito so if you see one of these guys, get away quickly.
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Just in case your mosquito isnt wearing a nametag. This is what they look like:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    OUCH!

    Pretty good with the snappy caption, Steve!

    Don't you hate them? I guess it's the idea that mosquitoes are going after my blood, not to mention that they can carry diseases, that makes me want to do battle with them.

    I'm sure people have noticed from your picture that this baby is not the one that is so commonplace. I've been looking closely at the ones that are, and they seem to me to be more likely to be Culex quinquefasciatus. Small and dark, they lack the banding on the legs that aedes aegypti have, which is beautifully revealed in Steve's closeup. (By the way, Steve, how did you get your wife to sit still long enough for you to take that shot, poor thing!)

    Culex are not the ones to carry either dengue, or malaria. That's the good news; but, as is often the case, a little bad news must come with it. They are the carriers of West Nile Encephalitis- West Nile Fever as it's commonly called- potentially fatal, and capable of leaving nasty neurological symptoms in its wake, if you don't die. West Nile Encephalitis has been present here on the peninsula, since 2002.

    Still yet another reason not to let mosquitoes feed, freely, on you, at any time.
     
  14. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Culex quinquefasciatus

    Steve, if you can get your wife to hold still just one more time, how 'bout one of your nice closeups, this time of Culex quinquefasciatus, so we can see if that's what's been buggin' us around here. Tell her, "This is the last one, promise."
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Here's Culex quinquefasciatus,

    [​IMG]

    By the way, that's not my wifes skin. I Know she is Mexican but she's not that hairy.
     
  16. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    NOT TRUE, WIFE SHOT

    Thanks, Steve, for that nice mug shot of Culex quinquefasciatus, on the previous page.

    Steve wrote:
    My mistake. Your first shot, of the aedes, was made on an almost hairless arm. This second one looks more like it might have been made on my arm.

    Still, it's a good shot. This looks a lot more like our culprit, all right, but I'm not sure it's dark enough. The thing I've noticed about these around here, aside from the absence of banding, and their dark coloration, is that they sit very low, and flat on the skin, relative to others, which appear to stand up taller- perhaps on longer legs.

    I started to get interested in mosquitoes, after coming to Cancun, when I began to think seriously about why they seemed to prefer some people over others, and some body parts, over others. Mosquitoes not only vary in appearance, size and distribution in the world, but they vary in behavior, as well, making them extremely interesting to learn more about.

    It turns out the Culex quinquefasciatus has an extremely strong tendency to bite below the knees; and, even more so, near and on the feet, with only 7% of their bites being on other body parts, in experiments with human subjects, who lie naked, waiting to be bitten (I hope they're well paid). I killed one of the "seven percenters," just the other day, when he tried to bite me on the arm.

    They are also, like aedes aegypti, very particular about when they bite, feeding only when there is light available, natural or artificial: sounds like this one may have just a little trouble with night navigation: many of the others sure don't though, do they. At least this one won't keep you awake at night!
     
  17. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    CAN WE HAVE ANOTHER?

    Now, Steve, if you wanted to make it a trifecta, you could give us one of anopheles albimanus.

    Now that I know your wife doesn't have to pose for these shots, I don't feel so bad, asking.
     
  18. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

    If Cancun Centro has a mosquito problem then I'll bet half of it is because the Parque Kabah is a mosquito nest. We went there yesterday and it's pretty much a lake all through the woods there. I can't imagine how many mosquitoes will be hatched there just this week, from this rain.
     
  19. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    MOSQUITO NEST!?

    Looks like you're going to be in for it, RG!

    Better start taking those garlic tablets, now! (I'd think about giving some to your husband, too, to keep peace in the household.)

    [Actually, I tried those once, when I was in Moscow. Didn't work worth a damn, at least not on Moscow mosquitoes, who seemed to have a sort of Italian taste preference, in my experience. V.]
     
  20. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

    Mosquitoes don't bite me. It's all this ice in my veins.
     

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