Last week, the first mosquito of the season made its way into my room. The little jerk was one of those zebra-striped (Tiger Mosquito) silent types. Fortunately, these tend to be lazy flyers. As much as I consider myself a compassionate person, mosquitoes are difficult to forgive.
I honestly don’t mind the humidity of Japanese summers, but I can’t stand the mosquitoes. Luckily, there are plenty of products available for dealing with mosquitos in Japan, but before learning about these products, you should memorize two useful words:
蚊除け (kayoke): A product that is labeled kayoke will repel mosquitoes.
蚊取り (katori): A product that is labeled katori will kill mosquitoes.
Personally, my strategy is first to use simple methods, such as wearing long sleeves and sealing entrances. Mosquitoes can come in through your bathroom fan vent, so you may want to get a filter to keep them out.
Next comes the mosquito repellent, which includes sprays (蚊除けスプレー, mushiyoke supure), hanging repellent sheets (虫よけバリア, mushiyoke baria), and aroma oils.
If they still manage to slip past all my defenses, it’s time to bring out the big guns! The products below are a mosquito’s worst nightmare.
A mosquito coil (蚊取り線香, katorisenko) is basically an incense stick that contains an insecticide. When the stick burns, the smoke kills nearby mosquitoes.
The standard mosquito coil is a gray or earth-colored spiral. It usually lasts for several hours. Naturally, cute mosquito coil containers are also available. The one you’ll see the most is a kayaributa (蚊遣豚), a ceramic pig. The smoke comes out of the pig’s nose.
On the downside, the mosquito coil’s smoke can have an unpleasant smell and irritate the throat and eyes. Additionally, the chemicals can hurt small pets. For these reasons, I suggest taking precautions to reduce these adverse effects when using a mosquito coil.
Mosquito exterminating mat
Mosquito mats (蚊取りマット, katorimatto) might not be as cute as the ceramic pigs, but do present a safer alternative to the traditional mosquito coil. The mosquito mat uses a heater which causes it to release insecticide.
Depending on the type, a mosquito mat heater will work with batteries or an electric outlet. Since you’re not using smoke, this means no smell or risk of fire. As for the mat itself, it can last from half a day to a whole day. Kincho is a well-known brand for mosquito mats and insecticides in general.
Liquid-type electric mosquito exterminator
The liquid mosquito exterminator (電子蚊取り器, denshikatoriki) is more popular than the mat. The electronic device may run on batteries or by an electrical plug. It’s filled with liquid insecticide, then the device releases the insecticide into the air for a smell-free, smoke-free, mosquito-free room.
The liquid-type exterminator has the edge over the mat in that it lasts a month or more. Earth no Mat (アースノーマット) is probably the most popular liquid-type exterminator.
These are some of the main types of mosquito extermination methods used in Japan. What are your recommendations for keeping mosquitoes away?