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itchy bumps

August 1st, 2013

It has been an extremely wet year which may explain why I woke up covered in mosquito bites. Well, no, the reason I have been bitten has something to do with the current German temperature and the appauling ignorance of screens in basic home design.

For a people who are so meticulous about everything else, I just don’t understand why there are no screens on the windows.

I thought of a few possible reasons starting with traditions – we don’t put on screens because we never have put on screens. Now admittedly, most of Germany was never the swamp of the Netherlands and home grown malaria was not the issue here that it was in the low lands (last cases in the 1950s). Many more people lived in cities, but that would to me say flies which are also not pleasant company besides being such excellent disease carriers in all those years before completely modern waste disposal.

So I went looking for other reasons. It is hard to air your bed linen out the second floor windows if you have to deal with screens. Now shutter which close at night? Those might help but how do you breathe in the stifling heat? Harder to water your window flower boxes perhaps? Or there might be the simple issue of screens being a relatively modern development. There might be the small matter of double hung windows which slide up and down vs whole window assemblies which swing in or down. See comment about bed linen airing, wash hanging and window boxes above.

This year has been the worst in my memory which admittedly only includes most, but not all of the German summers of the last 32 years. Stray wasps, bees from the hives next door and the occasional fly, but I don’t remember ever being this badly bitten. I guess I should be glad that thus far malaria has not reinvaded Western Europe although Dengue has gradually been moving north from the Mediterranean. Mosquito born diseases are so not much fun. But then again, at least they are not the size nor are they numerous as those I grew up with in Minnesota, the monsters of Alaska or the disease ridden dive bombers of Kenya.

But, as I tripped over it on the way out of the bedroom this morning, I now understood the small bottle of Bullfrog insect repellant kicking around the floor.

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  1. August 1st, 2013 at 22:37 | #1

    My hubby bought me ankle bracelets for walking in the evenings that are both glow-in-the-dark and mosquito repelling.

    Only problem is I felt like I looked like someone out on parole with the darn thing on, strolling around the neighborhood. But no mosquito bites!

  2. Bruce
    August 2nd, 2013 at 06:48 | #2

    In the 1930′s, one of my mother-in-law’s cousins was wiring rural houses as the REA came in.

    One of the homes was that of the rancher’s widow who had joined her husband south of Coleman, TX in 1867. The tax rolls showed that she owned half the county and her later estate underwrote the local hospital until a couple of nuts mismanaged it in the ’90′s.

    He & his wife stayed in the guest room while he was working. His wife found her hostess to be gracious, practical and mentally gifted.

    The wife asked her “Of all the modern conveniences we have now, which do you value most?” Her instant reply was “Screens”

  3. Holly
    August 2nd, 2013 at 06:49 | #3

    Then maybe the turmoil of Germany during that period meant they missed the boat completely on that modern improvement – screens to exclude insects.

  4. Bob
    August 2nd, 2013 at 10:29 | #4

    We used this trick summers in Germany. Try hanging a couple of those fabric softener dryer sheets above the bed. If it works here in Georgia (even with screened windows mosquitos find their way in) it should help there as well.

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