Challenge: Megan vs. Mosquitoes

You know how some people are, like, chick magnets, or dude magnets, or money magnets, or magnets for something that might somehow be cool or useful in their lives?

Yeah, I’m a mosquito magnet.

It’s not quite as cool or useful as being a dude or money magnet, but that’s my lot in life, I suppose. Poor with no dudes, covered in mosquito bites.

Dudes, call me!

I can be in a room of 100 people and the lone mosquito in the room will attack only me. Everybody else will be looking at me like I’ve lost my mind as I’m swatting at the air and yelping, ‘Is nobody else getting bit here?!’ I mean, I really love attention (um, hello, I have a blog that is pretty much solely about meeeeee and also exceptionally useful tips about what kind of potato chips I think you should buy!), but even I have my limits, you know?

In addition to the regular places like arms and legs, I’ve been bitten on my lip, next to my eyes, my ears, my fingers, my toes, and several other unmentionable places. When I was in Costa Rica, I got bit on my butt more than once as I was going to the bathroom. On my butt! In the bathroom! Is there no place sacred for you, mosquitoes?

Clearly not, as they also deem it appropriate to fly up my skirt and under my shirt to bite me. I’m always like, At least buy a girl a drink first, mosquito, sheesh. I may be a cheap date, but I do have SOME pride.

I BOUGHT THIS MYSELF. Thanks a LOT, mosquito! Cheapskate.

This is all part of the continuing theme of me being really smart (that is sarcasm!) by moving to the tropics. I hate hot weather, I hate ginormous hot-weather-inspired cockroaches, and I hate mosquitoes. So I live in a tropical climate.

I generally have terrible reactions to mosquito bites; my legs look like I have acquired some rare tropical disease wherein your legs become covered in scabby red hills, which is totally attractive (the profuse sweating in the hot weather here doesn’t help with the attractiveness, either, let me tell you) (also, I just grossed myself out with the description of my legs). I always try Tiger Balm first, but sometimes it gets so bad I have to take an antihistamine so I won’t go totally batshit crazy with the itchingitchingitchingitchingohmygodtheitching.

I’ve tried all the different kinds of mosquito repellants. Citronella is a joke, Avon Skin-So-Soft is hardly even a good lotion, repellant for backwoods camping barely does it for me, mosquito coils only make me sneeze, and the Off! portable repellent you clip on yourself just made a funny noise. In general, mosquitoes just swarm to a part of my body I haven’t sprayed or bite me straight through my clothes. (Side note: I did learn that there is 98% DEET that will also take your nail polish off. Sign me up!)

Didn't work for me!

In Thailand, mosquitoes don’t just live in the great outdoors. Oh, no. That would make life easy. They live inside, too. In restaurants. In hotels. In apartments. In buses. In taxis. They even invade the holiest of places in Thailand, the place where you go to be safe and cool, and get snacks: the 7-11s.


The thing is, mosquito bites in the United States are really annoying, but you don’t ever really hear about anybody getting sick from them. Technically you can get West Nile Virus, but I’ve never met anybody or even known of anybody who’s gotten it.

A great aspect of Thailand is that the mosquitoes are vicious, and I actually have known of people who’ve gotten malaria or dengue fever.

As I can tend toward hypochondria, I think I have dengue fever every time I feel a little headache coming on. My conversations always go like this:

Me: Brock, I think I have dengue fever!

Brock: You don’t have dengue fever.

Me: I might! I get bitten a lot by mosquitoes! I have a headache! You don’t know! You’re not a doctor!

Brock: You don’t have dengue fever.

Me, muttering to myself: I’m pretty sure I have dengue fever.

Turns out I have never had dengue fever, but I might someday, and THEN YOU’LL ALL BE SORRY!

Mosquitoes: 1 billion   Megan: 10 (sometimes I manage to kill them, although I always feel bad about it. I don’t know–I’m weird)

p.s. Last time I thought I had dengue fever, it actually was appendicitis and I was in the hospital for three days for surgery. SO THERE!



Filed under Daily Challenge, Living Abroad, Thailand

56 responses to “Challenge: Megan vs. Mosquitoes

  1. Try Marmite. I don’t mean spread it on your skin, but eat it. Apparently when you eat it, it leaves an odour (Brit spelling alert!) on your skin which grosses the mosquitos out so much they will leave you alone. I cannot testify to the veracity of that statement, nor am I a spokesman for the Marmite company, but hey, you’ve got nothing to lose.

  2. So we are sitting here in Bangkok watching CSI reruns (what else does one do here?) and getting totally mal bicho-slapped by a single mosquito that keeps doing fly-by bitings. We are reaching neurotic levels of twitching and swatting, but I think you’ve just given us hope. Here’s the deal. You come on over and stand in the corner for the evening, and we provide you with food or perhaps some Thai whiskey to dull the experience. Just stand over there in the corner and reel ’em in. We’ll angle the TV a bit if you’d like.

  3. I can soooooo relate to this on so many levels – I’m no chick magnet either (or I don’t realize, but that’s beside the point) and a mosquito/flea magnet. The thing that annoys me the most in dealing with those pesky flying stingers, is the noise they make. They usually attack during the night, when they assume I’m asleep…and they give out this high pitched buzzing sound…HATE IT!!!Then comes the biting, the hunting and the killing (I don’t feel sorry for them…you want a piece of me? pay with your life, so there). Fleas are a different story – it seems I’m allergic to their bite…the area is not just a tiny point…oh no, more like the Rocky Mountains…one day (after a memorable visit to some relatives who had a neighbor, a proud owner of 10 cats) I saw that I’ve been bitten. I counted the bites (retarded, I know), and I had 25…TWENTY FIVE bites on a 2 inch area of skin…hate, Hate, HATE mosquitoes and fleas. What’s their use besides spreading disease?
    P.S. If you are no guy magnet it means guys over there need eye glasses…or a drink, to approach such lovely, independent and strongly opinionated Lady of Leisure ;)

  4. I feel your pain Megan, for I too am a skeeter magnet (I believe it’s ‘cuz we’re so darn sweet – but uh, I don’t have any hard data to back that up). And as a tour operator/guide in the tropics for 20 years, trust that I made a SCIENCE out of researching preventative measures. And the results? I dare say…

    Yes, yes “DEET” is your friend my dear. Deet in the greatest dose you can get (it pays to read the label – nothing less that 98% will do.) A good bit disturbing I know, to be perpetually slathering yourself in poison, but hey it’s either that or get eaten alive and/or go insane from the itching, no?

    • Yes, we’re so sweet! That’s it!

      I have to find some of the 98% stuff. My friend has it and said it literally took the paint off her shoes. It probably gives you cancer, too; who knows? But who cares?

  5. Perhaps instead of seeing yourself as a mosquito magnet you might find it more helpful to see yourself as a Mosquito God. Maybe these insects are your minions and just waiting to obey your commands. On the other hand, they could just like blood that tastes a bit like crisps/chips :)

  6. Bob L

    I have the same problem. Not just skeeters either. Black flies, deer fly, SAND F’N FLEAS, every thing except for some reason I don’t have problems with ticks. Thankfully since we have Lyme disease around here.

    Don’t feel bad though. Let people know about your condition and you will be invited to every outdoor (and some indoor) gatherings. You will be very popular. I have arrived at picnics where everyone was complaining about black flies, but all complaints stop once I arrive and they all swarm to me. Think of yourself as a living breathing bug zapper, without the zap! 8^)

  7. When I was living in Thailand, it was weird… mosquitos stopped biting me after about two or three months (I lived there eight months total). They got sick of my blood for some reason, and I think it was because I began to eat less dairy, as Thai food doesn’t normally have dairy in it.

    I’ve read somewhere that mosquitos are attracted to lactose, so perhaps my lactose-less blood made me less desirable to the little bastards. And when I did get mosquito bites, they only itched about a day and turned teeny-tiny the following day before disappearing completely.

    Also, I was using a Burt’s Bees mosquito repellent, which was made out of lemongrass oil and some other stuff. It was DEET free and it didn’t smell all chemically-nasty. I bought it before I moved to Ban Phe, so I don’t know if you’ll be able to find any in Bangkok. Good luck fighting against the swarms of skeeters.

    • Hmmm…that’s interesting. Honestly, I’ve found the same for the mosquitos in BKK, but in Chiang Mai and elsewhere, it’s just as bad, if not worse. I just went to CM and had probably 20 bites on each leg.

      I’ve tried some stuff with lemongrass or citronella or whatever and it has never worked for me, but if you vouch for the Burt’s Bees stuff, I’ll have to see if I can find it!

    • well, ur lucky, after living here for five years, the mosquitos still find me just as attractive. my father-in-law sits at their outdoor dinner table in only his “pa-koa-ma” the traditional thai fabric wrapped around his waist like a big daiper and gets bit maybe once in the entire month of eating dinner outdoors. and there are _swarms_ of mozzies flying around biting the rest of us. i’m like, “hey look over at my dad-in-law sitting there arms, legs, chest and back exposed!” why they go through the trouble of biting me is beyond my understanding. when we eat there i always wear long sleeve shirts and pants but if the floor fan isn’t on they will fly up my pant legs and bite me through my shirt and pants…argh. Burt’s Bees has an outlet at Siam Paragon in Bangkok. I’ll bet that since honey is the ingredient incorporated into all of their products that at least one of the other components to the repellent is honey. would like to know if it really works for mosquito magnets like me or megan. i’m seriously concerned about how many brain cells i’ve melted using DEET since sometimes i pretty much have to dip myself in DEET to keep from getting bit. i love dairy products too much to not eat it just for mosquitos and my wife would kill me if i took up eating garlic, as much as i like it, to ward off mosquitos…lol

      • I’ve tried a lot of natural repellents and they don’t work, but I’m always willing to try something new!

        Yeah, poor Nok–don’t start with garlic!

        • was just in paragon tonight and forgot to check burt’s bees…oops! anyways i did look at the grocery store and max % was 12%…there is an outdoor/camping section in the department store and a couple outdoor outfitters at centralworld i think would be worth a look at :)

  8. This is me, too. At girl scout camp, we used to count our bites and I *always* won with counts in the many, many hundreds. I am sort of surprised I haven’t died from blood loss.

    I took an outdoor cooking class in Chiang Mai and, while it was lovely, afterwards I looked like my legs had been attacked by angry elves wielding poisoned toothpicks.

    Nothing helps. Nothing at all. Don’t waste your energy – you’ll need all the strength you can get after all of the blood letting.

    • Hahaha! So true! The mozzies in CM are even worse than the ones here in BKK, I think.

      p.s. Your kids are adoooorable and those bunny bags you made are so cute!

  9. DEET doesnt do crap. I use the Australian AEROGARD, which is billions of chemicals* and works. every. time.

    I have a spare (3 bottles!) of it if you want one as like you, i am mosquito-chow. Something to do with the copious amounts of Peanut M&M’s or so.

    Do they sell calamine lotion? thats what we do in aus (well, what kids do) to stop the scratching. Put that pink crap on it and the itching be-gone!

    I should also mention that theres nothing sexier than a woman that passes out with a bag of chips in her arms. Truely, Its love.* ;D

    *- outlandish statement alert


    • Calamine lotion–ha! I have some prescription stuff that doesn’t even work. It’s an antihistamine for me if it gets that bad.

      Yeah, I pass out with a bag of chips…I wonder why I don’t get any dates here…hmm…

      • Well, im heading back to aus in June for a week to visit the family, Ill pick you up some calomine rubbish. I hate the suff, drives me nuts.


  10. Libby

    When we lived on Parris Island, there were sand fleas. The REAL sand fleas. They burrow into your eyes and ears if you let them. Marines were “allowed” to break Parade Formation to get them out of their eyes… No Joke. Know what kept them away? Take a bottle of Avon Skin so Soft and a bottle of Deet. Mix them half and half. Deet makes the S.S.S. not so greasy, and the Skin so Soft makes it so the Deet doesn’t eat through the elastic in your socks (yes, that happens with pure Deet). Worth a shot!

    • Wow, I don’t think I’ve had much experience with sand fleas like that. Sounds awful!

      I’ll have to try the SSS and the Deet mixed together, like you said.

  11. i also HATE mosquitos. carry a bottle of deet with me at all times and they are the sole reason u see me almost always wearing long sleeves and pants despite the humid and hot weather. i don’t get the scabby bumps like you but i do get monstrous welt-like swellings that itch like CRAZY…nok had dengue late last year as well as her brother AND mother! i usually have to use the 98% or 100% deet but can’t find it here. i’ve only seen it in the states. would love to know if i can get it here. i usually have to lather on the low percentage deet we find here in thailand as they like me it seems as much as they like you. they love to fly up my pant legs and bite through my clothing as well…makes me itch just thinking about it…

    • Oh my god, they all had dengue? That is terrifying!

      I wonder if you could get the super strong stuff at a camping supply store or something here…

  12. You crack me up, Megan! :)

    By the way, we should hang out… and I am saying that totally selfishly (is that even a word?) because usually I am the mosquito magnet that prevents all others from getting bit. So, maybe with you being there I have a shot of the mosquitos only attacking me half the time :)

    By the way, I use 1% hydrocortisone creme against the itching. Works like a charm every time. Also, OFF works on me as the spray against mosquitos, but be careful, it is also a DUDE repellent :) Just saying… once you find the one who pays for your glass of wine, you might warn him that you’re covered in OFF (or whatever else it is you use). I didn’t tell my boyfriend one night and his mouth went number after a simple good night kiss on the neck.

    PS: I am a slight hypochondriac as well ;) And the fact that my mosquito bites turn into huge red bumps, people ask me once in a while if a spider bit me… which really freaks me out, because… who knows?! Maybe it was a very poisonous spider and I just didn’t notice!!??

  13. Tee

    Oh that really sucks for you. Someone told me they bite through jeans too! I don’t know if this will work out for you, but my cousin uses the lemongrass-scented mosquito repellents- they smell nice and they’re made from natural ingredients (should be safer hopefully).

  14. WLH

    Your only hope is to create a mos-free zone in your sanctuary (house). Close the windows. Put a auto-close arm on the door. Seal cracks. Buy a BLACK HOLE mosquito-vacuum and hang it near the door to protect the entry zone. Then buy five fumigators from Tops (the kinds you add water to) and nuke the house. Come back three hours later. Be dogmatic about windows and doors from then on. At least you’ll be safe at home.

    • Luckily, my apartment is already mosquito free, but I’m totally buying a mosquito vacuum anyway because it sounds FUN.

      • WLH

        I have two, and the one near my front door takes in 200 dead every week. It’s a little sadistic but I love the sight of their corpses. I think a fair policy with nature is “If you’re not after my blood, I’m not after yours.”

        • I was going to say I agree with that policy and then I realized in reality that I don’t. In theory, I do. But I actually kill just about every bug in my apartment, whether they’re after blood or not.

  15. There is a theory that it is acidic blood that attracts them, although I don’t know if there is any evidence to support this besides anecdotal. However, I will say that since eating a cleaner (and more alkaline) diet, I went from getting massacred to hardly getting bit.

    Burt’s Bees is at Central Chidlom and Siam Paragon…

    • There was also a study that said stressed out people got bit less, but…well, I’m constantly stressed and I’m constantly getting bit! Also, I would have NO idea how to go about eating a more alkaline diet!

  16. Can’t you get botfly from a mosquito because they leave their eggs on them? No, wait, I’m pretty sure that’s more common amongst Mexico and South America (places I’m moving to – Joy(!)) but mosquito bites are nasty. Ouch.

    I guess you have no choice but to buy a pet bat. They like to eat mosquitos. It’s the only way to save yourself. ;-)

  17. Jo

    I feel your pain, I am also a moquito magnet. My legs were nothing but scabbed bites when I was a kid. Two things, Garlic really does help, but so does hanging around smokers. Pick your poison I guess… but tobacco is a mosquito repellent (helps with bees too actually).

    When I was in Mozambique I actually DID get dengue fever. So here’s the deal with dengue, you get a vicious headache (I’m talking migraine levels here) and then vomit uncontrolably. This happened to me while on a flight from Capetown to London, be glad you’ll at least be vomiting in the comfort of your home. If the vomiting starts, then you can call the doctor :-)

    • Whoa! I had no idea you had been to Mozambique and I had no idea you had dengue fever! Wow, lady!

      • Jo

        Yeah, my job used to send me places. It was nice while it lasted.

        I was reading the comments and I think there may be some truth to this dairy link. I stopped drinking (though not eating) dairy and I’m a lot less tasty to mosquitoes than I used to be. They will actually bite other people before they bite me! So could be true!

        • I’m going to up my chili intake, personally. And really, the only dairy I have here is a little bit of milk in my tea in the mornings. Oh, but I guess I have been eating more cereal recently. Hmmm…

  18. Oh Megan, you must be my sister from another mista. I am the exact same way. It would be interesting if we both got in the same room…who would the lone mosquito choose?

    I similarly also am very sure I have malaria all the time…

    • Malaria! Luckily I don’t know the symptoms, so I’m safe. Whew!

      I think we should get all the mosquito magnets together and then see who gets bit. That person wins!

    • MB

      I’m with Dalene – malaria is way more likely.

      Do they have West Nile in Thailand?

      See, that took your mind of Dengue for a second at least….

      • I don’t think they have West Nile, no. And Bangkok isn’t malarial, so I’m not really too worried. Dengue, though–that could actually happen!

  19. MB

    You are not making me want to visit Thailand.

    My kid is a mosquito magnet and has terrible allergic reactions. Once she got a bite on her cheek that made her whole eye swell shut. (Though at least that allowed for some hilarious child abuse jokes/awkward moments when people looked at me funny.)

  20. I feel your pain. Ever since I moved out here into the woods (excellent), they have been feasting on my youthful flesh.

    I have to show you the yellow oil that I use once I’ve been bitten. It’s in a pink bottle. That’s the best I can do for you. The label has been destroyed (during Songkran) otherwise I’d take a picture.


  21. I love that I sent that photo of you and the chips in about half of your posts — never fails to make me smile or even laugh O:-)

    Next time bring me in…Adam and Nicole dubbed me the “Mozzie Ninja” on our trip. We had 30-50 take over the van, and I took most of them out.

  22. Megan, don’t feel bad about being the only one bit. My friend from America got bit by one last year and guess what, Dengue Fever!

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