Dealing With Mosquitoes in Japan
By Lynda Deaver
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 kind happen 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 defences, it’s time to bring out the big guns! These products, a mosquito’s worst nightmare, are listed below.
A mosquito coil is basically an incense stick that contains insecticide. When the stick is burned, the smoke kills nearby mosquitoes. The standard mosquito coil is a gray or earth-colored spiral and will last for several hours. Naturally, cute mosquito coil containers are also available. The container you’ll encounter the most is a kayaributa (蚊遣豚), which is a ceramic pig. The smoke comes out of the pig’s nose, proving that the pigs are on our side.
On the downside, the mosquito coil smoke can have an unpleasant smell and irritate the throat and eyes. In addition, the chemicals can have a negative effect on small pets. For these reasons, I suggest taking precautions to reduce these and any other negative effects when using a mosquito coil.
Mosquito Exterminating Mat
Mosquito mats might not have as much nostalgic value, but do present a safer alternative to the tradition mosquito coil. A mosquito mat is put on a mosquito mat heater, which causes the mat to release pesticide. Depending on the type, a mosquito mat heater will work with batteries or an electric outlet. This means no smoke, no smell, and no fire. As for the mat, it can last from half a day to a whole day. Kincho is a well-known brand for mosquito mats and insecticide in general.
Liquid-Type Electric Mosquito Exterminator
The liquid mosquito exterminator seems to be more popular now than the mat. The electric device may run on batteries or by electric plug. A liquid pesticide is first poured inside the device. Then, as you might expect, the device propels the pesticide into the air for a smell-free, smoke-free, mosquito-free room. The liquid-type exterminator has an 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?