Living in Thailand has taught me a lot about these nefarious insects. Listening to common misconceptions from tourists inspired me to write this post.
Misconception 1: Mosquitoes are attracted to light
This is incorrect. Many bugs like moths are attracted to lights, but the opposite is true for mosquitoes. They prefer night time (especially dusk) and they will land on darker things. Wearing light color clothes does actually help keep them away a little.
Misconception 2: All types of mosquitoes carry disease
There are different types of mosquitoes, and different ones carry different things. Some don’t carry anything.
Misconception 3: You’re at a high risk of getting malaria in Thailand.
Totally untrue. Leave your anti-malarials at home unless you plan months camping in the jungle border regions. The risk of getting malaria here is almost zero. HOWEVER the risk of dengue is much higher, even in the cities. And dengue sucks.
How to not get bitten
- I’m not a huge fan of covering myself with DEET, and the natural hippy bug spray really is useless in the tropics. The best way to not get bitten is to be inside at the mosquito happy hour (dusk) and wear long pants and covered shoes at night.
- Thais will often sit cross legged while dining outside at night. I’ve also seen people fidget or swing their legs so that it’s harder for the bugs to land.
- If eating out, ask the restaurant for a mosquito coil and put it upwind under your table. Make sure not to breathe in the smoke if possible. Some restaurants will provide you with a fan which makes it too hard for them to fly.
- Be extremely careful in garden type restaurants at night. Mosquitoes love the dark damp gardens, and you will be feasted on.
- At night, check your room’s screens for holes, etc, and shake out any dark colored clothing or bedding to check for mosquitoes. A cheap bug net can be purchased here to hang in your room if the screens are not working so well.
- Do not leave your door or windows open in the evening or night.
- Don’t wear perfume or use heavily perfumed soaps. I use lemongrass scented everything which does help a little to repel them.
- Remember: mosquitoes like dark, damp and still environments. Combat that with light (colors/daytime), dry (stay away from water/dampness/gardens at night) and movement (fans, breeze).
Do you have any suggestions to add? Put them in the comments!