In my photography outings, nothing pisses me off more than mosquitoes and sand flies. Mosquito bites cause some small swellings and itching but these go way after a short while. But the little sand flies are real terrors. I often don’t realise they have stung me until several hours later when I start experiencing some slight itch. But the next day, I would find big lumps on my legs and hands and they are mighty itchy. My legs in particular have borne the brunt of sand fly attacks and the unsightly scars on my legs bear witness to these terror attacks by sand flies.
Sometimes when I am about to snap a shot in a park or forest, a mozzie comes whining near my ear and I would shake my head in reflex action, rendering my shot a useless blur. And often when I look down at my legs, I see many mosquitoes enjoying a feast. Sometimes I think I am a magnet for mosquitoes. They like to zero in on me for lunch.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different, with some people more likely to attract unwanted insect advances than others. Mosquitoes are attracted to a combination of scent, light, carbon dioxide as well as the warmth and sweat you’re giving off.Mosquitoes can sense your presence from far away. When you breathe out, you emit a plume of carbon dioxide that carries on the breeze, and CO2 also seeps from your skin. And mosquitoes love a moving target — it helps them zero in.
I have tried to stay off a mosquito’s menu by applying insect repellents. But there are times when I decide to just stop at a park or a beach for just a very short while and I do not bother to apply repellents. These are the times that I end up being charitable to the mosquitoes and sand flies. Does that qualify me as a philanthropist?
A lot of insect repellents don’t really work that well. I have tried quite a few brands with mixed results. Some totally do not work at all. Some work for maybe half an hour only while there are some which work for a couple of hours.
A Chinese medical shop introduced KAPS to me saying that it works well. Believing him, I bought 2 tubes but on two separate occasions when I used it, they total failed to work. As soon as I entered the forest area, mosquitoes were swarming over me and I had to beat a hasty retreat.
I then bought a natural insect repellent from a very well-known MLM company from USA. It was claimed to be 99% effective against mosquitoes. I don’t know what the 99% refers to. Does it mean that 99% of mosquitoes will be repelled by it? Or does it mean it will work for 99% of the people using it? If it is the later, it would mean that I am one of the unlucky 1%. And the repellent is not cheap, costing me RM32 as I am a member. The regular price is RM49.30. And did it work for me? I sprayed a very generous amount on my hands and legs before I entered the forest area. Using my hands, I spread the repellent all over my hands and legs. I have been using some of this MLM company’s health supplements for a couple of years and they are really good. I exuded confidence when I entered the forest area. I started taking photos and after a couple of minutes, I looked down at my legs and was horrified to find a horde of mosquitoes having a mid-day picnic on my legs. Needless to say, I stopped using this repellent and to say that I was disappointed is a huge understatement.
My search for an effective insect repellent led me to try out the Tiger Balm mosquito repellent spray. This cost only about RM13 to RM14 but I was pretty impressed. It works well for me, keeping mosquitoes at bay for the whole duration (which often lasts an hour or longer) when I am in a forest area taking photos.
I was at Permaisuri Imperial City Mall (PICM) a couple of months ago when I came across a booth selling natural soaps and mosquito repellents. I bought some soaps and two bottles of the natural mosquito repellent. The soaps are pretty good and give me a cool feeling when I apply it on my body. It is supposed to help alleviate skin allergies after a few months of continued usage. I have not tried the natural mosquito repellent as I am still using my bottle of Tiger Balm repellent.
I hope to continue my adventures in PhotoLand for as long as I am physically fit to do so. And I will need to continue using insect repellent to stay off a mosquito’s menu. Mossies, mossies, go away!