Mosquitoes, zanzari in Italian, are very active during the summer and early fall and can be bothersome especially when one gets into your room at night buzzing in your ear. Many accommodations have no screens or are open to the air and this has caused me to voice a rare complaint about traveling in Italy, yelling in frustration“la camera è piena di zanzare”, my room is full of mosquitoes! In the past there were only two choices on how to get rid of the buzz, physical barriers and chemical barriers. Pack a mosquito net or bring a good mosquito repellant to avoid a puntura (bite) and an anti-histamine gel to avoid swelling. That is until now.
Researchers in Sao Paulo, Brazil have been studying the use of coffee grounds as alternative to chemical repellents. They found that about 4 spoonfuls of used coffee grounds dissolved in a 250 ml of water killed 100% of aquatic mosquito larvae. According to researchers to get the benefit of coffee as a mosquito repellent you need to drink it strong and black and you need to drink a lot of it. Timing is also important. Drink as much coffee as you can before you go out so levels are high in your bloodstream. It seems that zanzara tigre or the tiger mosquito doesn’t like the bitterness of coffee. Apparently there is some truth to this because there are reports of a large, rich, chocolaty coffee widely consumed by those traveling through the Mosquito Coast in the jungles of Central America.
So go ahead, bite me. This is a challenge to all Italian mosquitos. I want to see if that doppio espresso I had after dinner keeps me from getting bitten. Come to think of it most of my Italian family and friends don’t complain as much about mosquitoes as I do.