How to Prevent Japanese Mosquitoes from Biting You

Published: 16th July 2009
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Summer is upon us again here in Japan and while for most of us our minds flood with images of beach, bronzed bodies and beer - the downside is that we must effectively protect ourselves from mosquitoes.

At best, these flying 'leeches' are infuriating, drive you insane looking for them as you are trying to get the children off to bed and leave unsightly blotches all over your skin. At worst they are one of the biggest killers of humans to 'grace' the planet. There is a whole slew of diseases that can be caused by a mosquito bites, including:

* Malaria

* Yellow Fever

* Encephalitis

* Dengue Fever

All delightful stuff I am sure you agree...

Today we are going to learn a little about makes these things 'tick' - my youngest girl asked me to 'Google' them today actually (the poor little thing is a lure for Mozzies unfortunately.) And most importantly what can you do to defend yourself from these disgusting little vampires!

Mozzie Biology 101

Mosquitoes are insects that have been causing animal and more recently, humans for more than 30 million years. And it seems that, our little friends have been very busy evolving and honing their skills of finding people to bite. Mosquitoes have an impressive aray of sensors designed to track their prey, including:

Chemical sensors - mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to an unbelievable 36 metres (100 feet) away. Mammals and birds gives off these gases as part of their normal breathing. There are also certain chemicals in sweat that seem to attract mosquitoes (the lucky people who don't sweat much don't get nearly as many mosquito bites).

Visual sensors - if you move around wearing clothing that contrasts with the background mosquitoes can see you, and and get a 'target lock' on you. Instinctually, anything moving is considered "alive", and therefore fair game to have it's blood siphoned.

Heat sensors - talk about overkill: Mosquitoes can also detect the heat warm-blooded mammals and birds give off very easily once they are in range.

With all these high-tech sensors these little 'suckers' (pun intended) sound more like something out a Terminator movie...and without protection we don't really stand a chance.

Interestingly it is only the female mosquitoes that bite (what is is with females - I bet if we had a Father Nature instead things would be a lot different.) Not unlike human gold-diggers, the female lands on your skin and sticks her proboscis into you (the proboscis is very sharp and thin, so you may not feel it going in). Her saliva contains proteins (anticoagulants) that prevent your blood from clotting.

I bet you didn't know this - Mosquitoes can actually 'explode'...

Obviously if you notice her and try to squish her, she will fly away. Otherwise, she will remain until she has a full tummy - she has yet another sensor telling her when she is full and it is time to detach. I once had one land on me and when it was sucking away merrily I carefully pinched my skin tightly to her proboscis so that she couldn't escape. While it left a nasty welt, I had a last laugh as she filled with blood and exploded ;-)

After she has bitten you, some saliva remains in the wound. The proteins from the saliva evoke an immune response from your body with the symptoms of the area swelling an being as itchy as h***. The swelling tends to subside quite quickly, but the itchiness will remain until your immune cells break down the proteins in the saliva.

HIV 'Old Wives Tales' Exposed

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS cannot survive inside a mosquito, and therefore thankfully cannot be transmitted from one person to another through mosquito bites.

How to Stop Getting Bitten By Mosquitoes

You can do a few things to reduce the number of mosquito bites that you get while enjoying the outdoors. First, wear clothing that covers most of your body, if temperatures permit - in saying that though I have been bitten through jeans before so nothing is fool-proof here.

Use Mosquito Repellent.

You can go the route of using the 'ol Japanese standby - the Katori Senko. You can find these bad boys in almost every drugstore in the land. They are green swirly incense sticks that contains some type of plant- based repellent that purports to keep mosquitoes (and any worthy suitors) at bay. While these might be effective for household use, I like to know what my kids and I are breathing and they are no help once you are outside.

When my girls and I are outside rather than spray ourselves with toxins that eventually work their way to building up in our internal organs I prefer more natural alternatives:

If you are interested in getting the best natural bug repellents, and natural supplement delivered right to your door while saving up to 70% on retail prices I urge you to run to iherb.Com and if you enter this code HAY138 you will $5 off your first order (on top of the impressive discounts!)

I have been ordering supplements from iherb.Com for over 5 years now from 3 different countries and I can tell you that their customer service is top notch, their prices unheard of, and shipping is quick and cheap. If you could even find these products in Japan you would likely pay well over full price, fork out money to get the train or fight traffic to get to the store. But with iherb.Com your stuff is only a few clicks and a few days away no matter where you live in Japan...or the world.

P.S The best shipping option for Japan is to choose Yamato - they are the ones with the Black Cat on the side of their truck.

P.P.S Feel free to share this code HAY138 with anyone who has never ordered from iHerb before. They will save $5 on their first order as well...and a truckload on anything they order from then onwards.

P.P.P.S Guys - believe me you will definitely want to know about the amazing 'night-time' benefits of Cordyceps that you can get from iherb too;-)

Video Source: Youtube

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