The summer of mosquitoes in Berlin | Environment| All topics from climate change to conservation | DW | 18.08.2017
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Something's buzzing

The summer of mosquitoes in Berlin

A lukewarm summer evening in Berlin? It might end quickly because Culicidae, the common mosquito, will make you leave. They are mean this year, really mean. 

Coming home and opening my front door - or even running past it - is an adventure these days. The reason is that, this summer in Berlin, and presumably elsewhere in Germany, there are many mosquitos.

At my front door and and at the window, around 25 of the critters lurk every day and night. I've counted them. And  I've smacked one or two, certainly, as well. Still, if one goes, another one comes. So, I have decided to leave them be. 

Now, I even go as far as to let those that have made it into my apartment live, by pulling an empty glass over them and taking them back outside, no matter if it's day or night. So maybe I only have myself to blame for the large community of them at my front door?

Mosquito vs blackfly

Still, I guess I'm lucky. The summer in Berlin is not a real summer anyway, and I only have to deal with harmless mosquitoes. It could be worse.

Reading the papers, it becomes clear there is something else out there, that's like a mosquito, but worse. It's called a blackfly (Kriebelmücke in German). And it's like a relative you don't want to see very often, but who seems to be everywhere. While the mosquito stings a fine hole to get to our blood, the blackfly gnaws a bigger wound into your skin. The blood comes in the hole and the blackfly takes a sip. Because of this, it's also known as "pool sucker".

The blackfly is not an invasive species. It has been around in Europe forever. But it seems to be having the best summer ever - they, along with the mosquito, are everywhere. And many people are experiencing painful bites, and sometimes an unpleasant allergic reaction too.

What can you do about it?

Contrary to what our parents told us, mosquitoes don't care if you turn the lights on or off in your room. The suckers are sniffing, rather than looking. And when we sweat - which we do regularly during the summer - we are seductive and the trouble-makers will find us in the dark, just as well as they do in the light. So it's best to just keep the windows closed and hope for a little less rain.

Of course, this summer too will pass. Until then, I plan to try and make myself as small and narrow as possible when I pass my front door. And anyone who knows me knows this will not be an easy thing to do.

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