Officials from the Tuscan city have urged residents to close their windows and not wash as they deal with an infestation of mosquitoes that has been plaguing locals and tourists for weeks.
Restaurant and bar owners in Orbatello, known for its lagoon and long sandy beaches overlooking Monte Argentino, say business has been hit hard as customers avoid going out for dinner.
“We are forced to close two hours earlier,” the owner of Café sul Corso de Luigi Drogo told Corriere della Sera. “This is our 2022 season.”
Some establishments have turned off outside lights and are taking dinner reservations until 9 p.m., but that has done little to boost business.
“Despite these measures, intake has fallen by 60%,” said Marco Di Pietro, owner of the Ovosodo restaurant, describing the “psychological panic” that mosquitoes caused in diners outdoors. “Thousands of mid-light bulbs gather and move like a disturbed wave between the outside tables,” he told Corriere.
Orbetello Beach on a white car. Photo: Included
La Repubblica quoted a visitor from Rome as saying that Orbatello was “completely overrun” with insects. “It is impossible to walk along the Lagoon for almost a month. It has become impossible to dine outside or even have an aperitif. The situation reached such a climax yesterday that many shops and restaurants had to close around 9pm.
Mauro Lenzi, a biologist, said last month that the infection was linked to high temperature conditions in the lagoon, which have reduced the presence of natural predators such as frogs, bats and various birds.
Officials said they would conduct overnight pest control procedures on Wednesday – the fourth time the city has been fumigated in as many weeks.
However, residents complained that a more thorough disinfection, which normally takes place in spring, was not carried out this year.
They’re not the only ones hit by insects this summer – nearby Castiglione della Pescaya has been hit by swarms of wasps, Corriere reported.
Leonardo Marras, Tuscany City Councilor, said: “Today it is difficult to find a solution to an issue that should have been dealt with earlier. What I can say is that we are here for any citizen who has raised a concern or whose weather has been ruined by these insects.”