What is Mosquito Netting?

Lauri Nawrot

Anyone who has been bitten by a mosquito knows how irritating these bites can be...literally. The incessant itching and scratching is enough to drive a person crazy. However, mosquitoes can be more than a mere nuisance, they can be downright deadly. Throughout the ages, mosquitoes have killed more people than any other animal, due to their ability to transmit deadly diseases, such as malaria, West Nile virus, and encephalitis. Considering that mosquitoes predate humans by millions of years, mosquito control has always been a priority throughout the ages.

Mosquito about to bite.
Mosquito about to bite.

Among the different methods to control mosquitoes, probably the oldest and most popular method is the use of mosquito netting. Mosquito netting is a gauzy material made of a delicate mesh so that it does not impede airflow but is still fine enough to prevent mosquitoes from passing through it.

A bed with mosquito netting.
A bed with mosquito netting.

Mosquito netting has been used for centuries throughout the world, most notably with the building of the Panama Canal. During its construction, thousands of workers became infected with malaria resulting in an abundance of sickness and death. The chief engineer of the Panama Canal project insisted that the workers be presented with mosquito netting. The result was a dramatic decrease in those workers affected with malaria.

Mosquito netting can be used in various forms to protect the user. One of the most popular methods of using mosquito nets is to hang it from the ceiling so that it drapes over a bed, just like a canopy. In this way, it is used to protect a person from being bitten by mosquitoes during the night. Mosquito netting can also be used in an outdoor setting and comes in handy in situations such as camping or sleeping outside. It is possible to hang a mosquito net from a tree and use it as a makeshift tent. It should be noted, however, that while mosquitoes cannot fly through the material, they can bite through it, so mosquito netting should never lie against a person’s skin, but rather drape around them for optimal protection.

In the 1980’s the manufacturers of mosquito netting and the insecticide manufacturers teamed up to create the ultimate in mosquito protection. They created long-lasting insecticidal mosquito netting, or LLINs. This mosquito netting is infused with a parathyroid insecticide for double protection. Opinions about this product are mixed, as the insecticide does eventually dissipate as the netting is repeatedly washed.

Mosquito netting dramatically reduced malaria cases during construction of the Panama Canal.
Mosquito netting dramatically reduced malaria cases during construction of the Panama Canal.

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