Brazilians Take A Swing At Mosquitoes With The Zap Racket : Parallels The electrified tennis racket that kills mosquitoes is ubiquitous in Brazil. It's deeply deeply satisfying to use. But it does take technique.

Brazilians Take A Swing At Mosquitoes With The Zap Racket

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It's summer time, and for a lot of us, that means trying to keep the insidious mosquito. The biting bugs are annoying here, but in Brazil, they can be deadly. It's the place where the mosquito-borne dengue virus is most prevalent. Enter the Zapping Racket. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro tests it out with her own family.


LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Here's a - well, I'm trying to kill it. Here's one. (laughter).

That's me, waving my hands frantically in the air trying to kill a mosquito, while my husband, James, and his sister, Claire, who's visiting from the U.K., look on. What I'm using to slay said mosquito is the Zapping Racket.

So how would you describe my racket technique?

JAMES HIDER: Pretty cool. Although you just killed one, apparently, by accident. I think it was a suicide.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, a Zapping Racket is, as the name implies, an electrified tennis racket that kills mosquitoes. I know, right? Genius. It's common in other parts of the world, but in Brazil, the racket is ubiquitous. Street sellers hawk them, they're sold in stores - every single house has one. And they are deeply, deeply satisfying to use. The rackets even have a little lightning bolt on them so they look like a superhero weapon. But it takes technique to use right. At least, according to my husband.

J. HIDER: I think the forehand is my favorite. Yeah, it brings out the hunter instinct a bit. And it's guilt-free because nobody likes mosquitoes and, you know, I am protecting my two-year-old child.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I want to go up high. I want to go up high.

J. HIDER: (Laughter) Very addictive. It's like playing tennis, but - existential death tennis with bugs.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Listen to this (zapping). That is the sweet sound of mosquitoes hitting the racket. I've been in some houses where people actually cheer after a particularly fruitful zapping. Now, this might seem cruel or unsavory, but mosquitoes in Brazil are a round-the-clock menace. You have the ones that come out at dusk and bite you at night, and they might carry yellow fever or malaria. And then you have the ones that bite you during the day, and they could be carrying dengue - not fun. But the Zap Racket is fun.

CLAIRE HIDER: It's fantastic. It's quite therapeutic. I thrash my arms about a lot.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Claire, my husband's sister. She had never used a Zapping Racket before she came to visit us. Her technique...

Better be using the racket and sort of it swishing over your head like a saber.

C. HIDER: I'm trying to make sure I cover every inch of the room (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Needless to say, she's taking one back to Scotland when she leaves. Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Rio de Janeiro.


YEAH YEAH YEAHS: (Singing) Mosquito sing, mosquito cry, mosquito live, mosquito die, mosquito drink most anything...

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