the long night of mosquito massacre

At some point early in the morning, when the Swedish summer night is briefly dark, we lost count of the mosquitos killed, their corpses laid out on window sills, thrown to floors, splashed against the ceiling. Our three-year-old daughter was wide awake, alternately cowering under a blanket, her hands over her ears or holding a flashlight and fly swatter and on the laughing hunt.

Sweden has mosquitos in the summer. It is a fact of life in a wet, wooded country. And we just bought a summer house on a river, downstream from mosquito hell (here is a link to a video). But the mosquitos in our yard were not bad, and even the forest was fine if you keep moving or use mosquito repellent. We had had some annoying nights in the house, getting buzzed by the odd blood sucker. But this night was different, lines of them hanging from the ceiling, coming up from the floor, different types too, from big Star Wars-like cruisers looming in corners to high buzzing small ones impossible to see in the dusk or dark.

It took two hours of the hunt, splitting up into two rooms and many false starts – turn off the lights and wait and, damn, buzzzzzzzzz. Finally we slept. I woke up at one point and checked our one screen window … and killed nine mosquitos. I woke up later and spent the early morning with the baby … and killed another ten. And E in the other bedroom whacked many more than I did.

Then through the day there was this steady drum of mosquitos in the house, even as I vigilantly checked to see what came in when we opened the door. I got paranoid, wondering if they were born in the house somehow, if the previous owners duped us and had sold the house because of the mosquios, how the neighbors coped with these special mosquitos that wiggled through the smallest holes.

We have a family precendent for this. In Port Jervis, we spent a summer of long nights dodging the forest bugs of upstate New York. We blamed the house, and while the house was host to dead rats, bats, batbugs (yes, batbugs) and a host of other problems, these bugs were not its fault. Nope, the next summer, when I reinstalled the air conditioning unit in the old window, I realized there had been two six-inch gaps the entire summer before.

It was like that here again. Like there was a giant hole in the house, a superhighway for mosquitos looking for blood. It was like there was a chimney and the flue was open.

Oh, right. That should be closed. No more mosquitos inside.



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