It is hot out! To me, when I think about heat waves, I think about mosquitoes in Italy and how I’m supposed to sleep comfortable at night.
There’s a heat wave going on right now in Italy and Central Europe that the Italian newspaper call Lucifero. It’s a front of hot air coming in from the Sahara that is sitting on its haunches across Europe that Italian newspapers are calling Cities in some parts of Italy are reporting temperatures hovering 104-110F (40-45C) degrees. Ouch.
Luckily, here in Ischia, being an island, even if it’s hot, there’s usually a breeze coming in from the sea and you can go always cool off by going to the beach for a swim. Air conditioning exists in a lot of homes and stores in the form of an embedded wall-unit called a split that functions as an AC unit in the summer and a heater in the winter. But electricity is expensive, so people will use the AC only when necessary, so for the rest of the time, especially at night when the sun goes down, the windows are open.
And besides, who wants to stay inside and close the windows when most places have a balcony, terrace or garden and there’s so much beauty to enjoy?
But the downfall of keeping your windows open are mosquitoes. And depending on where you are in Italy, summers can be hot and muggy which are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes in Italy especially in the lowlands of the Veneto and Tuscany and on the islands and coastal towns. The worst are the tiger mosquitoes, which are particularly aggressive, and aren’t content with a single bite and will attack the same spot on your body over and over again.
When I was little in Napoli, I remember sleeping under a mosquito net with a basil plant next to my bed, a romantic memory, but it didn’t help much since I was always covered head to toe with mosquito bites.
Nowadays, there are better ways to deal with the mosquitoes. I sleep with the windows open and listen to the Italian summer sounds, spend most of my time outdoors and eat outside in the garden in the evening, without suffering from too many bites.
I’ve made a list of things can you do to keep them whether you’re here on holiday or live here or planning to move here. I’ve made a list of both over-the-counter remedies and natural remedies.
9 Ways to beat the mosquitoes in Italy:
Over the counter remedies you can find in an Italian supermarket:
- Get a plug-in diffuser.
This emanates an insecticide that kills the mosquito. Vape is the most common brand, and has two different kinds of diffusers. One is a replaceable liquid cartridge that lasts up to 60 days with a convenient on/off switch and the other has replaceable disks that last up to 12 hours and you need to change every night.
- Spiral coils
These aren’t for indoor use and I wouldn’t use these at night while you’re sleeping, but if you’re outside in the garden or on the balcony or terrace during the evening, these help keep those annoying beasts away. You can keep them in a corner away from the table where you and your guests are.
- Citronella candles
The candles are pretty for entertaining and the emit a much nicer scent than the coils, but I’ve found that they don’t work as well. But they do add a nice mood to your outdoor space and you can use them in tandem with the spiral.
- Mosquito skin spray
If you’re going to be in the outdoors for a long period of time in a particularly mosquitoe infested area, you can spray your arms and legs. This works quite well. I use it even if I’m out in the garden and I want to not fuss around with coils and candles and spray my legs, feet and ankles with this.
- After-bite stick
Mosquitoes are incredibly tenacious and resilient, so despite the above repellents, they’re still going to get you. Keep this stick in your bag. It’s amazing! It provides instant relief for when you get bitten and will make you forget all about it.
- Use natural oils
You can make a natural mosquito repellent spray by mixing vodka/witch-hazel, distilled water, and essential oils such as citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar, catnip, geranium, lavender, and mint. Spray some on your body or on your sheets.
- Use a fan
The fan circulates the air and keeps the mosquitoes from getting too close to you.
- Hang a net curtain in front of the windows or around your bed.
Also I love beaded curtains on the kitchen door that leads out to the garden or terrace. They remind me of my childhood.
- Keep plants that are a natural mosquito repellent on your balcony or terrace.
Plants such as lavender, rosemary, basil, lemon balm, and geraniums (now I know why geraniums are so popular in window boxes!).
Hope this helps and let me know below if you have any other tips to share!