May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Welcome back to “How Should I Know?”—the column that answers the questions that readers are itching to ask.

Dear Mordechai,

I feel like mosquitoes bite me more than they do everyone else. How do I get them to stop?

Itchy Pulkes

Dear Itchy,

I feel for you. Every family has one person who seems to attract all the mosquitoes. There’s always one person who, every time you sit outside, keeps asking, “Why do the mosquitoes keep coming to me?” And everyone else says, “Because you’re the sweetest of all of us!” And instead of saying, “Awwww,” the person looks unamused and just keeps scratching.

“Wait; you’re not supposed to scratch it. That will make it worse.”

Um, I think that’s poison ivy. You can’t spread a mosquito bite.

But there are some home remedies that people suggest, such as:

Apply honey to the bite. That way, bees will be attracted to it, I guess, and they’ll keep additional mosquitoes away. Also, the honey will discourage you from scratching.

Take an oatmeal bath. I have no idea what percentage of oatmeal to water. I guess just open a bunch of packets and follow the instructions on the back. I’m also not sure which flavor works best. Though this might be why every variety pack has some plain ones. For mosquito bites.

But this isn’t really what you’re asking for. You want preventative measures. So tip No.1 is: Hang out with someone sweeter than you. The problem is that all they’re going to do is talk about how much they’re getting bitten. It might be more worth it to just get bitten yourself.

Another idea is to constantly surround yourself with creatures that eat mosquitoes, such as frogs. No one’s going to stand around in the dusk and schmooze with you when you’re covered in frogs. And that way, you can get to go inside. I should also point out that in Mitzrayim, there were more lice than ever, but not a single one showed up before all the frogs were dead. Especially the big one.

And if you don’t want to hang out with frogs, other animals that eat mosquitoes are bats. And fish. And dragonflies. And spiders, obviously. So you get to pick! There’s also something called an elephant mosquito, which eats smaller mosquitoes. Your options are limitless!

Another idea is to swat them. This might sound obvious, but according to recent studies, if you swat a mosquito, it remembers you. You don’t remember it, but one day it runs into you at the park, and it’s like, “Hey, Mordechai!” and you’re like, “Heyyy … How have you been?” and you hope that whatever it says gives you some clue as to which mosquito it is. Or that something drastic happens before you have to introduce it to someone else.

Okay, so that’s not how it works. The way it works is that they remember that you swatted them and they avoid you. Or they come back when you’re asleep and bring all their friends.

Another thing experts recommend is to try to only go outside when mosquitoes are not active. Such as exceptionally windy days.

So, that said, if you do need to sit outside, bring out some fans. You’ll get weird looks from everybody, but the fans will keep the mosquitoes away. Or suck them into the back and blow them at you.

Experts also recommend that if you want to stay away from mosquitoes, you should avoid standing water. But experts also say that the human body is 60% water. And if you get your recommended eight glasses a day, you’re something like 110% water. Point is, if you’re not running around and swatting at yourself, you’re standing water. Don’t stand still.

You also have to understand what’s drawing mosquitoes to you in the first place. Mostly they hunt by smell. If you smell good to mosquitoes, they’ll be attracted to you. So it always helps to smell worse than the people you’re talking to. You can have contests.

Mosquitoes also like the smell of carbon dioxide, which is why they like to buzz around our heads. So try not to breathe too much. And if you absolutely need to breathe, the smell of mint keeps mosquitoes away, plus it encourages better-smelling people to stand next to you.

In fact, a lot of foods can affect whether mosquitoes are interested in you. For example, some experts recommend that you rub a sliced onion all over your body. It might not keep mosquitoes away, but they’ll definitely end up crying, and that’s as good a revenge as any.

And meanwhile, eating dairy products makes you attract mosquitoes. So that’s yet another reason to look forward to the Nine Days.

Time to ask a shaila about those oatmeal baths.

Have a question for “How Should I Know?” Put some ice on it.


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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