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Mosquitos

Spending the first two weeks in May traveling around north central Italy (Venezia, Padua, Lucca, Cinque Terre and points in between). Do I need to be concerned with mosquitos or other flying pests that time of year? (It's been a long time since I've been in the area.)

Has anyone used the wrist bands that are supposed to keep you from getting bit? Did they work?

Posted by
13 posts

I spent a week in the Italian Riviera in May 2016 and there were mosquitos out in the evening/night. Had to keep my windows closed and run air conditioning at night. I've tried the wrist bands at home and had no luck at all with them.....

Posted by
11983 posts

It will depend on how much rain they get and the heat at that time.
Eat lots of garlic, and see if you get a fan. Mosquitoes can't land with high winds.

Posted by
31073 posts

Frank II,

I've been in all those areas, and don't recall ever seeing any mosquitoes. As a precaution, you could always pack along a small bottle of DEET. There is also clothing available that's treated with insect repellent, so that's another solution.

Posted by
11733 posts

Frank, I was eaten alive in Florence. Had the window open overnight and woke up to hugely swollen bites all over any exposed skin (feet and face). It was a real mess; couldn't get my shoes on, and one eye was completely swollen shut. Interestingly enough, my husband didn't get any bites at all.

I guess people can react very differently to bites from mozzies in a different locale as you haven't built the same immunities as you do to insects at home. I get very large welts anyway but nothing like what I experienced in Florence. We didn't get bitten anywhere during the day or anywhere else we were in Italy - including the C.T, and we hiked there - on that trip, though (didn't go to Venice).

Will pack Benadryl next time, just in case.

Posted by
200 posts

Rather than having to pack it, I'm hoping we can buy repellent when we're there? Or better to bring some? Don't mean to ask a stupid question!

Posted by
3351 posts

Debbie, you should be able to buy it there. However, you can take a small (less than 3 oz.) spray bottle and fill it up with stuff you have now. That will get you by until you find some there. You might also check your local drug stores to see if they have mosquito spray in small quantities. Also, OFF makes a spray saturated wipe in individual packets that can be used.

Posted by
200 posts

Thanks. I'm also hoping maybe they won't be too much of an issue when we go - 10/5-10/15 to CT, Florence and Venice.

Posted by
17155 posts

I think I remember reading somewhere that DEET-based products are not available everywhere. Folks who are highly sensitive to mosquito bites might want to take some of their favorite product with them. As a general rule I've found that prices of things like mosquito repellant can be much higher in western Europe than they are here. That might just be because I was shopping in sort of touristy districts, but I found it almost physically painful when I needed to buy the local equivalent of acetaminophen and paid about 50 cents for each pill.

Posted by
11613 posts

acraven is right, some OTC supplies are more expensive in Europe, and some are not available at all.

I was eaten alive in Ravenna one summer, but I think October should be okay in most places.

Posted by
5215 posts

If you want to take some with you, get the little packets of towelettes. They are much neater and convenient to use and pack. Might be harder to find in the winter here, but usually in sporting goods stores.

Posted by
5719 posts

Italy has not yet invented the window screen and mosquitos are a major problem; it will depend on the weather of course and the particular place you are but we have had miseries with mosquitos in May in Florence where it was too hot to keep the window closed at night. We were never able to find effective mosquito repellent in Italy; if it exists, it is a mystery to us. The little plug in things and coils they rely on are worthless. I now always travel with those individual towelettes you can get from camping stores with effective deet based repellents; you can stick one in a back pocket in case you meet them unexpectedly and if I know I will be in an area with mosquitos I carry a small bottle of deet based repellent. Once you are in Italy it is too late. We have tried wrist bands, little things you pin on your clothes etc and none of that stuff works well enough. The repellent impregnate shirts work to some extent but not well enough that you don't get a few bites on hands and face.

Posted by
119 posts

We had mosquitos in October in Venice in our B&B with unscreened windows.
I found individual packets of wipes called Deep Woods Off with Deet at Walmart in
the hunting and fishing department . That way I didn't have to take liquid or spray.
My quart liquid bag was full already.

Posted by
2815 posts

Make sure that you have AC in any accommodations so can close the windows. I don't understand the European phobia of window screening, it's bizarre to have mosquitoes and flying birds in indoor living space!

Wrist bands and garlic don't work.

Posted by
17155 posts

I should also have mentioned another issue I have with buying things like mosquito repellant (especially liquids) in Europe: You may not have much choice of container size and could be forced to buy far more than you'll need. If you take stuff from home, you can decant a reasonable amount into a small bottle. I do this with sunscreen; it's a must-have, but I wear slacks, a hat and 3/4-length or long sleeves, so I don't need too much even on very long trips. 8-oz. bottles are heavy and unnecessary for many products.

This is an issue I have with the advice sometimes given just to buy a bunch of toiletries in Europe. I don't want to carry such quantities around with me!

Posted by
11983 posts

Insect repelling products are sold in Italy too. Any store, pharmacy or ferramenta (hardware) shop will have them. Why pack stuff you may not need? Even assuming they are cheaper in America (doubtful at the current exchange rate $1=€1), how much do you think you are going to save, a penny or two maybe?

Italy has not yet invented the window screen and mosquitoes are a major problem
Screens on sliding windows are easy and are built standard in American homes.
They are added to the Italian type windows but they haven't caught on much. Maybe people don't like the way they look on windows. But they do exist and they are called zanzariere.
http://www.3elle.it/3elle_stage/file/public_admin/zanzariera.jpg

America also has not yet invented the bidet and dirty underwear are a major problem.

Posted by
792 posts

This is the latest entrant in the mosquito repellent market in North America. It's been available in Europe for a while, but was only approved in Canada in the last year or so. It's also recently approved in the U.S. I've had trouble with mosquitoes in Italy before, so I took some with me. Stuff with the same active ingredient is widely available in Italy, and my friends swear by it even for nasty tiger mosquitoes in large quantities.

I can't vouch for it personally as the mosquitoes only attacked my friends this year and left me completely alone. I'm usually a mosquito magnet, but I was taking a prescription med that may have encouraged them to move on down the line. I got exactly one bite in 7 weeks while my friends suffered.

Yes, you can expect mosquitoes in Italy in May and the rest of the warm months, and I suggest taking this Piactive stuff along. it smells a lot better than DEET anyway. Maybe in combination with some DEET wipes for a scientific comparison?

P.S. The active ingredient is Picaridin.
P.P.S. To clear up confusion, the friends who recommended its efficacy were NOT the same friends getting bitten this past summer ;)

Posted by
21 posts

I can't say that I remember seeing mosquitoes when we were there in May before but I should note that the AirBnB we booked for this May has netting for the beds as they can be quite a problem in Florence

Posted by
7191 posts

If you don't want to be eaten by mosquitos then you'll either need to keep your windows closed. In the summer that means you need Air Condition. AC is not just to keep cool - it's to allow you to close the windows and sleep without suffocating.

Posted by
3475 posts

Frank,

Please note there are two different applications with picaridin. ( the product Nelly posted) The spray is for clothing ONLY. The lotion is for EXPOSED skin.

Read the labels carefully.

Posted by
752 posts

Florence! All the mosquitoes flock to Florence and they are humongous suckers! They bit me so badly I had to wear long sleeves and long pants so people wouldn't stare at me!

Florence has a sewer problem, I didn't notice it on every street, and I'd forget where until I got on top of it, that might have something to do with it, I don't know, but the odor was so bad it'd gag and strangle me and I'd hightail my way outta there before I passed out!

And those dumb plugins don't work, they are very expensive, so don't believe the shopkeepers who try to get you to buy it, fans don't work, they ride the wind straight into you! Take those anti- mosquito wipes with you and a 3 oz. Bottle of spray or liquid!

Never had a problem anywhere else, just Florence!

Posted by
8731 posts

Thank you for all of your replies.

After reading all of them, I'm glad I don't go to Florence on this trip. But I'll take some wipes just in case.

Posted by
11733 posts

But I still LOVED Florence! We just had to remember not to leave the dang window open overnight.

Posted by
224 posts

We're from Texas used to mosquitoes, were not prepared for Italian mosquitoes. Off did seem to work but Afterbite was useless. Big welts that stayed and iched for over a week. Never tried bands, bought them they seemed oily, so we use Off. good luck!!

Posted by
300 posts

Debbie,
I was in Venice, Florence and Rome last October. Didn't see any mosquitos in Venice but did see them in Florence and Rome. The deet spay is also good to spray on clothing and bedding and worked well. Got my small bottle in Target's camping section - Repel 100. It was a little 1 oz bottle and was sufficient for my 2 weeks in Italy.