Style secrets of the French by Casilda Grigg
Imagine a summer holiday without mosquito bites. Imagine being able to ditch the smelly sprays and lotions, the bed nets and plug-in repellents. Imagine being able to sleep à la belle étoile, like a character in a picaresque novel, without fear of being bitten to death.
On my last day on holiday, while I was drinking chilled rosé on a balmy terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, I got chatting to an elegant Frenchwoman called Cathie (bronzed limbs, snow white empire line dress, radiant smile) who claims that thanks to an anti-mosquito app on her Smartphone she never ever gets bitten. As I was at that very moment being persecuted by two hungry mosquitos, both determined to have me, I was instantly intrigued.
It turns out there are dozens of apps out there designed to turn phones into mobile mosquito deterrents. They work by generating an ultrasound signal that’s inaudible to human ears but is designed to repel the little bloodsuckers.
The one Cathie uses is called the Anti-Mosquito Sonic Repeller and was invented in Finland where the mosies are apparently diabolique. The app was designed by the mysteriously named ‘Pico Brothers’ who say there are ‘3,500 known mosquito species in the world.’ After they’ve shared with their users this terrible, terrible news – enough for British holidaymakers to boycott Stansted and Luton forever – they advise using ‘the pitch controls to find the optimal repelling frequency for your region.’ Quoi?
Electronic repellents have been around for decades but the science appears to be shaky. In fact many scientists believe they have no effect whatsoever. But – and here’s the good news – the anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise.
Cathie and her Catalan architect husband, Josep, point out that it works for them. They even sleep with their phones by their bedside and say the mosquitos now have to go elsewhere for their supper.
Next time I go anywhere hot I’m downloading this little app. It may not have the approval of the scientists in lab coats. It may be no more useful than eating Marmite or swatting the little beasts with rolled up newspaper but what do I have to lose by trying it?