Making peace with mosquitoes
The only casualty in my battle with the backyard mosquitoes was me.
The very first morning that I woke up in our new Texas home, I was so excited. I could not wait to have my coffee on the patio without worrying being too cold to enjoy it! Coffee on the patio was not a part of my Seattle lifestyle. It was just too chilly to sit outside most mornings.
Indeed, on that very last day of September, it was a beautiful Texas morning. I took my mug and settled outside, breathing it in, appreciating our new space.
Within five minutes I was back inside the house.
I hadn’t reckoned for the mosquitoes. They were on me in an instant and I was defenseless.
So begin at 4 1/2 year odyssey. My mantra was, “I hate mosquitoes“ and I repeated it often. The actions I took were commensurate with that attitude.
We accumulated can after can of spray-on mosquito repellent. Since I can’t stand mosquito repellent, I hardly wore it. Even when I did, they found the areas where I failed to apply it thoroughly. They kept coming for me.
We bought several expensive electronic mosquito repellent devices. Perhaps they helped, yet the mosquitoes kept coming for me.
We had our pest control guy spray several times, but how long does that really last? Not enough to make a difference in the long term, and I never noticed a difference anyway. Nor am I comfortable with the idea of widespread chemical spraying. Anyway, the mosquitoes kept coming for me every time I stepped outside.
We purchased expensive incense sticks that worked great, if you could stand the very strong smell. I couldn’t. Plus, the mosquitoes seem to know how to evade the smoke, and kept coming for me.
I lived in fear of my own backyard. I had long ago given up attempting coffee outside, or heading out to sit and enjoy evenings. I would send my husband out to grill and do everything I could to avoid being out there for too long. Only at midday would I venture out, when the mosquitoes seemed least likely to find me.
But when my parents came to visit, they were charmed by our backyard. They took every meal out there. They did yoga and tai chi outside every day. They leisurely swam in the pool in the evenings, when the mosquitoes were most prevalent. And they swore up and down at the mosquitoes did not come for them.
I envied them. I was happy they loved our backyard. But no way was I going out there! Yet witnessing their joy changed something within me. It felt wrong that my visitors were appreciating my backyard more than I could. It opened my eyes and my attitude.
I started thinking, it’s a real shame that I am living in fear, that I can’t enjoy my own space, that I am perceiving myself as a victim of this circumstance that I will never ever be able to control. But I still had no solution.
And then something shifted earlier this year. I happened to read somewhere that fans help keep mosquitoes at bay. We already have powerful fans installed in the ceiling of our patio, but it would not have occurred to me to use them as a deterrent. In addition, an impulse buy at Whole Foods of yet one more mosquito deterrent turned out to be the game changer. Because the Skeeter Patio Egg actually works. Even I can’t quite believe it, but I am so grateful I was willing to give it one more try.
Lo and behold, mosquitoes no longer come for me! Well, they still do, but it’s so much less it seems inconsequential. My brain’s refrain of “I hate mosquitoes” no longer has power over me.
I can’t say coffee happens outside every morning—yet—but at least it happens more than never.
Most importantly, I feel differently about my backyard. I look outside and see a happy place, waiting to welcome me. I am at ease knowing I can relax into a (mostly) mosquito-free zone. After all, the little guys are just trying to live their lives as much as I’m trying to live mine.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the mosquitoes and I have made peace.
Or, perhaps it is I who have made peace with my own perceptions.
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I’m like you. There’s 10 people in the backyard I’m the one that will get all the mosquito bites. Is the theory that it has to do with your particular skin type or the fragrance that is on your skin. Fans do help. Going to go get that egg thing that you’re talking about.
I am in a similarly situated latitude and the mosquitos are so bad this year! I must find this mosquito egg!