This year’s plague of mosquitoes follows last year’s floods. This season, the insects have been thriving in the unusually wet summer.
Although the bites of domestic mosquitoes in Poland are not life-threatening, they can be painful and can cause allergic reactions.
Research carried out by TNS OBOP shows that two out of three Poles consider mosquitoes to be the chief factor which can spoil a holiday, worse even than a bad hotel, bad company or bad food.
Mosquitoes are common worldwide, from the tropics to the Arctic Circle, in lowlands, highlands, rural areas as well as cities.
Some 3200 species have been described with at least 47 live in Poland.
Until the 1960s mosquitoes in Poland could carry malaria, and several outbreaks of the disease were reported.
Female mosquitoes need blood (or more precisely the proteins contained in blood) to produce and lay eggs.
They are most active in the evening and early morning, but in conditions of high humidity, low wind and indirect sunlight they remain active even at noon.
The insects are attracted by lactic acid and ammonia in sweat, and by exhaled carbon dioxide.
When a mosquito feeds, she secretes a pheromone that attracts other mosquitoes. She then lays her eggs in water.
A female can lay up to 1000 eggs, which can survive several years in the ground in times of drought.
Time-honoured ways of repelling mosquitoes include natural aromatic substances such as camphor, aniseed, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, coconut, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, nutmeg, mint or thyme oil, nowadays usually replaced with synthetic repellents. (ek/pg)