Those Pesky Skeeters

One fact of life that I’ve become quickly acquainted with here in Indonesia are the ever-present mosquitoes.  Oh, my….they are everywhere.  When we left for Lombok, I discovered that I had a nice series of bites running in the shape of a big “C” around my elbow which could only have occurred while I was sitting in the Starbucks in Jakarta “thinking” that I was getting bit by something.  Is NOTHING sacred?  Come on, can’t a person enjoy a cup of java in an indoor mall without getting bit?  Perhaps I should have been tipped off by the mosquito-killing bug tennis racket sitting by the wall that I spied but I refused to believe that they would be present in mid-morning inside a mall.  My mistake!

We came to Lombok armed with an arsenal of mosquito repellent weapons.  I had cleaned out our local grocery store’s supply of Deep Woods wipes before I left for Indonesia and I still had a bag of them to bring with me to the island.  I lather up with those babies at night, believe me!

We also have some family-friendly spray that we can use during the day.  It doesn’t last as long but it still does the job.  Speaking of spray, the other day we were so desperate for relief in our little apartment here that we asked the housekeepers if they could come back and spray for mosquitoes.  They did so but the results were dead or dying flies in the apartment and plenty of mosquitoes flying around in my bedroom.  Jason said he was bit less in the night so maybe they all just migrated over to our side of the apartment.  In fact, I was lying in bed reading on my Kindle last evening when Lina, my roomie, suddenly slammed her hand down on my bed.  No explanation was needed.  I knew that she must have spotted a mosquito.  For the next five minutes, I watched Lina doing an acrobatic “ballet” around the room as she would spot the mosquito and lunge for it, only to miss.  Finally she killed the pest.

Inevitably, we need something to relieve the itching when we’ve lost the battle of the bites.  That’s when the “AfterBites” balm comes in handy.  You roll it on your bites and supposedly it helps control the scratching that you are trying like crazy not to do.  Jason tells me, “Just to scratch the bites.”  Easy for him to say….NOT so easy to do.

One of our first days here I heard an airplane that seemed to be pretty low.  “Wow,” I said, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that was a crop duster.”

I happened to glance out the window just in time to see big clouds of white drifting over the lawn.  I must have looked puzzled because Lina said, “Oh, they’re spraying for mosquitoes.”
We’ve seen them do this twice since we’ve been here so apparently it’s an ongoing battle at this resort.  Certainly we’ve come to realize that if you head out somewhere at dusk, you arm yourself with lots of bug spray or risk coming back looking like one giant bug zit.  They are EVERYWHERE as the sun starts to go down.

I have started sleeping defensively with ear plugs so that I don’t get jarred awake by the whine of a mosquito in my ear.  Why do mosquitoes always hover around a person’s ear at night?  Do they do it just to torture us?  But hey, with ear plugs, I don’t hear a thing and since I’ve “Deep Woods” my ear lobes, those skeeters don’t get the joy of biting my  ears either.

Laura had the misfortune of making the acquaintance of a Dengue Fever-carrying mosquito early on in her time here in Indonesia.  It sent her to the hospital where she spent some miserable days battling a high fever, a dropping platelet count, and horrible nausea.  If her platelet count hadn’t finally started to rise on its own, she would have had to receive some blood transfusions.

Even the baby isn’t immune to mosquito bites.  In fact, the poor kid seems to be particularly delectable to the pesky bugs.  Since she doesn’t know how to scratch the bites, she gets quite cranky.  Wouldn’t you just love to “splat” a bug that would dare put a bite on that cute little face?

I’m certainly not going to miss mosquitoes when I return home.  It will be mid-winter in Pennsylvania and there will probably not be a single mosquito in sight.  On the other hand,  I might have to contend with Asian Stink Bugs who have crawled into a warm house to escape the cold.  Ironic, isn’t it?  Here in Asia, I haven’t seen ONE Asian stink bug.  Hmmm, since they are already so familiar with mosquitoes, I wonder if I could sell them on the idea that the Asian stink bugs are natural predators of mosquitoes.  If I could do that, Pennsylvania could make a fortune exporting stink bugs to Indonesia.   I don’t think that they actually do eat mosquitoes but perhaps Governor Rendell could train them to do so.  I hear he’ll be looking for a new job soon.

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • You don’t sleep under nets? I’m surprised.

    I came home covered in mosquito bites – and being an Alberta girl, I am VERY familiar with ‘skeeters. But I had more bites in one day in Zambia that I get all summer here! And they swelled up terribly, too.

    Have you had much of a reaction? Are you taking anti-malaria meds? Or is that necessary?


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