We haven’t seen many mosquitoes much this year in our apartment. Toward the beginnings of the summer, a mosquito was in my room bothering me one night. I told my daughter about it, and the next day, she went out and bought something to take care of it, and we haven’t’ seen any mosquitoes since. When we first came to Korea, we didn’t know how they handled them. In America, we have screens on our windows, bug repellent to apply to our skin, and some people even have what we call bug zappers in the yard. They are lights that attract mosquitoes and then zaps them and kills them. I have even heard that some people leave a bucket of sugar water out that attracts them and drowns them. In Nigeria, mosquitoes can be deadly. We put screens on our windows and mosquito nets over our beds in Nigeria. We also took medicine everyday to guard against the malaria that the mosquitoes carried. I have heard that they are making strides in Africa getting rid of malaria ridden mosquitoes. If you don’t know how to handle it, mosquitoes can be a problem in Korea too, but we have learned.
When we first came here, we found mosquito nets in the stores we put over our beds like we did in Nigeria. However, they are not in widespread use in Korea, and you can’t always find them. With our rooms being so small, they are inconvenient, but they helped while we were asleep. We had young Korean friends who were having a hard time unable to sleep because of mosquitoes bothering them, so we gave them mosquito nets, and their lives got better, but there were better ways of handling it here. We just didn’t know the better ways.
We used to go past places where incense was burning. They left the window open, and you could smell it as you walked by their house in the street. We didn’t know it wasn’t actually incense, but something to rid their houses of mosquitoes. If you are living in a foreign country, there are two ways to solve your problems that you don’t know how to handle You can ask a Korean’s help, or you can learn to speak the language and read the labels on the products in the stores. No one told us that what they were burning was mosquito coils, not incense. We can read the packages, and we know now what they are doing when they burn those things now. I think some people burn these in their yards in America too because I have seen them somewhere else. When the mosquito bothered me all night at the beginning of the summer, my daughter wanted to find the other solutions we have used for mosquitoes here, but she had trouble finding any of them, so she bought some mosquito coils and burned one for a little while, and the mosquito was gone and hasn’t been back. I didn’t like the smoke, so I didn’t let her burn it long, but the short time it burned, it rid our house of mosquitoes.
Even though I was teaching at the same place, we moved outside of Seoul for a short time to an apartment that was cheaper, but still nice. That is why we moved there, to live in a nice place for a cheaper price. There were woods all around our apartment complex, and a mosquito problem. However, the problem was under control. My daughter and I used to take a walk around the apartment complex every evening. We learned that there was a certain time we didn’t want to go because if we did, we would get sprayed with some sort of mosquito fog meant to kill mosquitoes. During mosquito season, at the same time of the evening, every evening, a guy came by on a motor cycle leaving a big cloud of condensed vapor in his wake full of something to kill the mosquitoes. We ended up moving back into Seoul because we didn’t like commuting, and it was too hard for our friends to find our house. My daughter was commuting 2 hours one way on a bus to go to school. We fixed the problems.
The best way I have learned in Korea to handle the mosquitoes is something electric. For a while, I had something that I plugged directly in the wall and it had a little bottle of oil attached to it that burned and went into the air killing the mosquitoes. Sometimes I see them for sale now, but they are scarce. We now have another small machine that we put tablets into, plug it up, and it puts something in the air to get rid of mosquitoes.
We are prepared for the mosquitoes, but since that first mosquito that bothered me at the beginning of the summer, I haven’t seen any more this summer. We usually have a bigger problem with them, but we know how to handle it. Perhaps when the rains come at the end of the summer, we will need our mosquito devices, but for now, we re just prepared. However, we may be in America before there is a mosquito problem here again because we are moving to America the end of the August.