À l’ombre des jeunes moustiques en fleurs aka Season of Migration to TBE HQ
For some reason, many mosquitoes see fit to winter in TBE HQ. Our admittedly unthorough check of outlying areas have revealed no standing water, so we’re not sure where they’re breeding. Regardless, the alacritious manner in which they send reinforcements upon the death of one or more of their comrades leads us to believe that their secret breeding grounds, this New Jersey to TBE’s Boca Raton, are quite close, as the mosquito flies.
La Prisonnière aka Do Mosquitoes Dream of Somnolent Humans?
It might reveal a bit too much about TBE’s comfortable existence to say that its bane is the thought or reality of a mosquito buzzing by our ear in the moments before we fall asleep. But our commitment to understatement knows few if any bounds.
The reason the flyby is so awful will be obvious to anyone who has ever suffered through it. By our count, one is confronted by two equally onerous choices in this situation:
- One can let this aggression go unchecked and simply try to cover oneself to the best of one’s ability, in hopes of providing the mosquito and/or its fellows with the least possible amount of exposed skin to bite. But this is a highly unsatisfactory response, since everyone knows that your sleep will be less restful if you’re tense the whole time because you’re subconsciously thinking about ensuring your body’s sanctity in the face of this grievous assault. And there is a very real possibility of letting the covers slip at some point during the night, and allowing the mosquitoes free rein to go on a biting spree.
- Or one can get up out of bed and attempt to vanquish the mosquito or mosquitoes. This option is also unsavory, for one presumably got into bed in hopes of not rising until the morning, and it being winter the non-bed zone is likely quite cold. Also, victory is by no means assured, as clever mosquitoes will vacate the areas where they could most easily be killed, meaning that one will have to expend considerable effort to successfully vanquish this most worthy opponent.
Moustique Disparue/Le Temps Retrouvé aka The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Thankfully, man, in collaboration with electricity, has devised a means of almost guaranteeing that one’s feverish dreams of world domination will not be interrupted by these pesky pests. We are writing, of course, about those little machines that one feeds pellets then plugs in, at which time they begin cologning the air with a soothing scent that no mosquito can bear, leaving one to dream or read or do what one does in the bedroom in peace.
A few words about the scent are in order, because it plays (or played) such an important role in the product’s appeal to TBE. Last winter, when we first started using the product, it was an almost exact scent cognate to Ivory brand soap, which is not a soap we use with any great frequency, but which has a fragrance that for one reason or another reminds us of our childhood. We think our section titles have done the heavy lifting for the analogy we’re trying to draw here, so we’re not going to belabor the point any further.
The story does not end with some nod to the most overused literary device ever, however. Just a few days ago, TBE made its maiden winter 2009-10 purchase of mosquito pellets. The packaging, we noticed, had changed, and boldly declared that the pellets had been manufactured using a “New Japanese Formula.” We regret to inform you that, skilled as the Japanese may be in many fields of human and robotic endeavor, creating mosquito pellet formulas that create in TBE a longing for a simpler time is not among them.
The scent is not bad per se, just a bit underwhelming for TBE’s tastes, which run strongly in favor of the writing teacher school of product preferences. As such we want our products not to tell us that they are working through mere science or recommendations by the American Dentists Association or some such. Rather we like to be shown that the product is working via powerful scents, excessive lather and foaming and the like.
There are at least two of these machines on the market, one made by Raid brand and another by Kito. TBE’s product testing department has yet to try Raid’s product, because a) we find Raid’s advertising and whole persona (producta?) to be a bit militant and b) we’ve been very satisfied with Kito (until recently, and we’re trying to work through that problem), which has the added benefit of being less expensive.
One only has to purchase the actual part that plugs into the wall once; the pellets are available for sale a la carte. Both machine and pellets are available at Alfa and probably many other fine retailers.
Tips and Tricks
If you’re broke or thrifty or forgot to purchase reinforcements or didn’t want to go all the way to the second floor of Alfa and are therefore trying to extend the life of a single pellet, it may be worth it to flip it. The faded blue parts are generally used up, while the deeper blue is still available for exploitation.
If you unplug your machine when you wake up in the morning and don’t generally sleep for hyper-extended periods, you should be able to get two nights out of each pellet. The scent may be quite faint on the second morning, but rest assured that mosquitoes’ sense of smell is much more powerful than yours. That’s how they can smell your blood from outside your body.