The glorious twelfth is a term used usually to refer to the 12th of April, the start of the hunting season in Italy for the common mosquito (Bitius Leggius) and to a lesser extent the tiger mosquito (aggressive-bitius).
Experienced mosquito hunters will have a preferred weapon of choice; from the low tech ‘attempting to hit them with the flat of the hand’ to the high tech use of modified squash rackets which release a thousand volt current when applied to a poor unsuspecting mosquito.
Hunting is not restricted to woodlands and gardens. Many households incorporate a number of ingenious devices to trap mosquitoes inside the house so that the family can hunt the mosquitoes at their leisure. They may include netting over the windows and doors or netting over a bed.
Hunting mosquitoes can also take place at night. To an Italian the pure joy of waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of the whining noise of a mosquito trapped in a bedroom can only be equaled to Italy winning the Six Nations Rugby Championship, which to date they have failed to do.
To ensure that there are sufficient mosquitoes to last from the Glorious Twelfth through to the 3rd of November; which is not only the end of the hunting season but also my birthday, farmers are encouraged to flood low lying fields to provide adequate water for the mosquitoes to breed. A by-product of flooding the fields during the summer is the production of rice for risotto, which the farmers sell to supplement their income. Vercelli in Piemonte is the centre of mosquito and rice production.
In America hunters wear high visibility clothing to identify themselves to other hunters. In Italy we are a little more fashion conscience, Italian hunters therefore identify themselves by spraying their bodies with liberal doses of noxious smelling sprays. The most common odour is citronella.
The monferrato area of Italy is world renown for not only the quality of its mosquitoes but also their quantity and size.
Mrs Sensible and I will be running residential courses through 2015 on:-
Safety whilst Hunting
First aid for mosquito bites
Taxidermy, the lost art of mounting a mosquito head
Wine and grappa will be served as refreshments. For more information please use our contact form