Here's the latest buzz from bug frontTwo sounds bring the news that summer has finally arrived on the peninsula. One is the click-clack of women's high-heeled sandals along subway platforms. The other is the buzz-buzz of blood-hungry mosquitoes, poised to attack.
Those little bugs that fill midsummer nights on the peninsula are more than a simple nuisance. Once bitten, your skin becomes swollen and unbearably itchy. More seriously, in some cases mosquitoes can infect their victims with diseases, including malaria.
It's the female mosquitoes who do all the blood sucking. Male mosquitoes live on the sap that runs down trees, which reaches a peak in the summer, from the monsoon season up until the early autumn.
Koreans have long had traditional ways to drive away the flying pests, like fanning or smoking them out. Those methods are usually not enough, though. Fortunately these days, people have a variety of pesticides which are readily available and affordable, the most popular being repellent sprays and coils.
The most tried-and-trusted solution has long been the burning anti-mosquito coil, or mogihyang. These coils are a descendant of the tradition of burning dried wormwood, long known to drove away mosquitoes.
If you light the end of the coil before going to bed, you'll be safe and sound until dawn. But the mogihyang is not for everyone.
First of all, burning the coils has always been a dangerous fire hazard, especially while someone is sleeping. Also, the smell from the mosquito-repelling incense is for many not at all pleasant.
Mosquitoes are not supposed to be high fliers, and usually just a couple of meters is enough to deter them. However, even though apartment buildings now rise more than 20 stories, the mosquitoes are able to make their way up via elevators and stairwells.
People today want a direct effect and have grown too impatient to save the life of a mosquito. Aerosols and pesticides filled with liquefied propane gas sell faster than you can scratch your bites. However, the sprayed pesticides, which are likely to cover your whole body, are not advised for the elderly or children.
Updated versions of these products are making their debuts to meet the diverse needs of the mosquito phobic. Liquid types and burning pesticide solutions, lighted by the wick of a plastic lamp, have been around for a couple of years. They can be used for about 10 hours.
The latest type of bug repellent is a necklace that uses supersonic sound waves. Female mosquitoes, before laying eggs, try to avoid male mosquitoes. Supersonic waves bring mimic the frequency of the wings and the humming made by male mosquitoes, making the females go away.
by Chun Su-jin