The Italian Almanac

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Garlic Spray

It's known to keep vampires at bay but now a small town in the north of Italy is looking to garlic to fend off another type of bloodsucker: the mosquito.

Officials in Soliera near Modena have given the nod for a local park to be treated with a concentrated garlic solution which scientists say effectively repels mosquitoes. The park will be regularly doused with Mosquito Barrier, a product composed of 99.3% garlic juice and 0.7% vegetable oil, for the next six weeks. The liquid repels mosquitoes while remaining totally safe for humans, animals, vegetation and other insects, making it an ideal solution for the park.

Mosquito Barrier kills mosquitoes on contact as well as suffocating any mosquito larvae in standing water, such as puddles or depressions in lawns. The product is also effective against ticks. Soliera town council officials stressed that past anti-mosquito park treatments had been chemical based, with a harmful impact on other insects and the environment. They warned the park lovers that the smell of garlic would be strongly in the air until the end of August, whenthe experiment is scheduled to end.

Garlic has a natural sulphur. Its ability to ward off bloodsucking insects has long been known is possibly the origin of the legend that vampires are scared of garlic.