Mosquito (Swahili : mbu)

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Mosquito (Swahili : mbu)

***** Location: Kenya, East Africa
***** Season: Long rains, short rains
***** Category: Animal


The mosquito is a much disliked insect in Kenya.

It is a kigo for the middle and end of both rainy seasons.

In Kenya, we normally distinguish between two types of mosquito -- those that carry malaria, and those that do not. But mosquitos can also carry yellow fever (against which one is vaccinated every ten years, and which is rare in Kenya) as well as other potentially lethal diseases.

In the lowlands of Mombasa and the Indian Ocean coast, as well as in Western Kenya near Kisumu and Lake Victoria, the malaria-bearing anopheles mosquito is common. Up-country Kenyans, as well as foreign visitors, take anti-malarials as a precaution when travelling to these areas. The local population does not normally bother, as the anti-malarials have their own side effects, which it is better not to risk by regular preventive medication.

Nairobi is just about situated at an altitude which makes the anopheles mosquito rare in the city. However, with global warming, it is becoming more common, and the government is running nation-wide campaigns to encourage children and adults to sleep within impregnated nets that kill mosquitoes without harming humans.

Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, photographer Jim Gathany
A female mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) feeding

The ordinary mosquito is plentiful in Nairobi during the rainy seasons. It ventures out from dusk to dawn, molesting humans and biting them, leaving itching bumps and sometimes sores, where scratch wounds become infected. My own typical evening in front of the television is spent wearing long trousers, a long-sleeved sweatshirt, and a double pair of socks, and is punctuated with wild hand gestures to drive the mosquitoes away. Others are more likely to dive after them and go for the kill -- now and again hurting themselves in the process!

It is said that mosquitoes like new blood. And certainly, visiting tourists seem to be bitten more than the hardened residents of any skin colour... Babies are also bitten a lot if not protected.

Mosquitoes live and breed in stagnant water. This may be a puddle or pond, the water tank or WC cistern in a house, the rainwater gathered in a flower or leaf -- they are not choosy! They take just a few days to hatch -- so after the first joy of the rainy season has passed, we settle down to the daily swarm of mosquitoes.

We sleep in mosquito nets all year round. Tucking it in under the mattress and sleeping inside the net gives a feeling of cocooned protection, a comfortable nest. And I love the first view of the day -- the light of dawn streaming in through the curtains, and a white cloud surrounding my bed, through which everything can be seen, and everything looks light and beautiful.

Text © Isabelle Prondzynski


From Insecta Inspecta World :


The mosquito is a common flying insect that is found around the world. There are about 2,700 species of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can fly about 1 to 1.5 miles per hour (1.6-2.4 kph).

Mosquito Bites: Females drink blood and the nectar of plants; the males only sip plant nectar. When a female bites, she also injects an anticoagulant (anti-clotting chemical) into the prey to keep the victim's blood flowing. She finds her victims by sight and smell, and also by detecting their warmth. Not all mosquito species bite humans.

Disease Carrier: The mosquito is often a carrier of diseases, such as malaria, encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue fever, dog heartworm, West Nile virus, and many others. The females, who drink blood, can carry disease from one animal to another as they feed.

Anatomy: Like all insects, the mosquito has a body divided into three parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), a hard exoskeleton, and six long, jointed legs. Mosquitoes also have a pair of veined wings. They have a straw-like proboscis and can only eat liquids.

Life Cycle: The complete life-cycle of a mosquito takes about a month. After drinking blood, adult females lay a raft of 40 to 400 tiny white eggs in standing water or very slow-moving water. Within a week, the eggs hatch into larvae (sometimes called wrigglers) that breathe air through tubes which they poke above the surface of the water. Larvae eat bits of floating organic matter and each other. Larvae molt four times as they grow; after the fourth molt, they are called pupae (also called tumblers). Pupae also live near the surface of the water, breathing through two horn-like tubes (called siphons) on their back. Pupae do not eat. An adult emerges from a pupa when the skin splits after a few days. The adult lives for only a few weeks.

© http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/insects/mosquito/Mosquito.shtml

From the Malaria Site


mosquito net

In Kenya, the mosquito net is used for most of the year, but it becomes most important during the rainy seasons, as the mosquitos make their appearance as soon as there is sufficient water for them to breed -- which is soon after the start of the rains!

Isabelle Prondzynski

Worldwide use

Mosquitoes (ka) Japan
mosquito net (kaya)
kigo for all summer

Things found on the way

Flies and mosquitoes are hardly, if ever, seen together in Kenya. Flies are daytime, and mosquitoes nighttime insects.
Flies occur year round, mosquitoes during the rainy seasons.

Isabelle Prondzynski


snuggling under
the mosquito net --

~ Isabelle Prondzynski


© Theresa and Dave


a mosquito bit me
it’s painful

as mosquitoes riot
against raid

(Raid is an insecticide in Kenya and the haiku is about the Raid advertisement that we see on TV)

~ Caleb David Mutua (Peacock)


stagnant water...
mosquitoes in plenty
breeding malaria

~ Cyprian Awino (Bamboocha)

in my bed...
a mosquito whining
around my ear

~ Catherine Njeri Maina (Bamboocha)


rainy season
brings stagnant water --
mosquitoes buzz around

~ Kadima Zipporah (Falcon)

a lot of mosquitoes
spreading malaria --
the rain

~ Ouko Hellen (Falcon)

mosquitoes multiply
and people rush for nets --

~ Boniface Mutua (Falcon)


around my ear
a mosquito humming --

~ Patrick Wafula (Patron, Bamboochas)


mosquito lavae --
my mother sprinkles parafin
on the puddles

Gloriah Kerubo

Related words

***** Mosquitoes, mosquito net as worldwide kigo

***** Fly, Flies (hae)  Japan, worldwide  
...... .... Fly-swatter (haetataki) Japan

***** First rainfall, imminent rain Kenya


1 comment:

Isabelle said...

Anthony Njoroge writes...

Reading the article and haiku on the mosquito is educative. It really brings to the surface very important and basic information. I hope all the students will have a look at the article. The pictures make it real and interesting. Thanks for the great input that you have continued to pump in the Haiku world. Bravo.


Thank you, Njoroge, for your encouragement and your love of haiku!