Les Bestioles


The “déconfinement” continues. Restaurants and cafes will open June 2nd. The retailer streets are choked with shoppers. Parks are filling up with walkers and picnickers.

My mind is on something else. The other day, inside the apartment, I spotted the first mosquito of the season. A few hours later, a small welt on the inside of my right ankle started to itch madly. The next day, my fingernails were digging at a much larger welt between my neck and left shoulder. Up and down, up and down, scratch, scratch.

Mosquitoes love me. If I am in a crowd, everyone else is safe from bites as I’ll attract them all. I detest the critters, and, for that matter, all bugs.

But the “moustiques” pose more than just a nuisance here on the French Riviera. We are one of the many regions in France on red alert for tiger mosquitoes. They are responsible for the small but growing number of cases in France of dengue fever and chikungunya, two deadly tropical diseases.

The heating planet is to blame, so this situation is unlikely to improve. In fact, by 2030, all of France is expected to be plagued by the large, striped insect. By then, the tiger mosquito won’t be the only warmer earth problem, but for now I am on vigilant guard against them.

There are other insects to ward off during this season, of course. Flies, ants, hornets, strange little things with wings that I can’t name. In some buildings, cockroaches. Let’s not talk about vermin.

Outside of the hot months of May through October, our tall French windows open to a lovely view over a garden. In early spring, they are open all day for the breeze and bird song. Starting now, the watered rose bushes, palm trees and linden plants become dangerous breeding grounds.

From now until the first drop in temperatures, long after the stunning heat waves of summer, those windows will remain shut. Soon, the air conditioning will be on — indispensable during a Nice summer. Sadly, we will probably not be going to mosquito-free Brittany this year due to coronavirus reasons (who wants to take a plane anywhere?) but we might take a road trip to the French Alps and escape all that for a short while.

That all depends. So far, we have been told we are free to travel within France for July and August. But anything could happen, couldn’t it?



About kmazz

I spend as much time as possible pursuing my interests in global culture, photography, arts and politics.
This entry was posted in climate, expat, expat life, France, Nice, France, Tiger mosquitoes. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Les Bestioles

  1. Ruth Miller says:

    When we were in Nice I bought light netting and tacked it on the outside of the window in one room and on the inside in another and lifted it with a broom handle to over the wooden shutters when we opened them. Ot was a little of a nuisance but it helped.

    I love your writing and your photographs!

  2. I don’t miss mosquitos in the least. The tiger mosquito is endemic in Sicily where I lived for 5 years. Just a correction, the tiger mosquito looks black from a distance but are black and white striped and are about half the size of a standard mosquito. They also like cooler weather than the standard ones so you see them earlier and later in the season. And worse yet, they are active all day. Not just at sunset.

    • kmazz says:

      Hello, Sergio. We saw them all over Occitanie last September. I had huge welts to show for it. They looked large to me with very obvious stripes!

  3. Maridel says:

    Thank you for this delightful (albeit buggy) armchair travel to Nice.

  4. Wow, what an intrusion on your lives! Sorry to hear that, Kathleen. I’m sure you’ll be some helpful suggestions there; at least I hope so.

    Love your writing and photos, as always. Tom shared your self[portraits, as well: DIVINE!

    Your mosquito commentary reminded me of a ditty that came to me some time ago. Perhaps, as a metaphor for mental distraction, it might help:

    Distractions, like mosquitoes that bite us in the dark of night, are fed by what they drain from us–yet such pesky intrusions nourish us not.

    Best to you and David.

  5. Barbara Annis says:

    Yes! Netting. So sorry about the bugs. Stay safe and well.

  6. Jane Baars says:

    Stunning photographs

  7. Ian Wallace says:

    First the pandemic, and now you are assailed by annoying creatures, even within your own residence. I suppose you could up stakes and move permanently to insect-free Brittany. No more itching and scratching, but you would have to endure heavy rainfall and low temperatures in winter. Perhaps the Alps will turn out to be perfect for you?

  8. PedroL says:

    You write so well 🙂 once I saw the first photo I already knew it was Nice eheh I lived there almost one year, have great memories 🙂 stay safe and greetings from Portugal, PedroL

  9. Cicely Hsnd says:

    Ah mon Dieu. I’m not looking forward to a hot, wet summer with no AC in the bedrooms. We too may escape, per moto, to the Alps as well.

Leave a Reply to kmazz Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s