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This Japanese Ceramic Pig Lets Me Have a Patio Cocktail in Peace

Reclaim your outdoor space from mosquitos with this household item

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A ceramic mosquito pig
Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

I’m always up for an al fresco cocktail on the patio... in theory. If we’re being honest, I much prefer to spend time sitting (inside) at the bar or enjoying my Manhattan in the temperature-controlled comforts of my own home. One of the main reasons for my outdoor wariness, especially on the home front: mosquitos, which absolutely plague our Northern Virginia yard.

This summer was going to be different. Hitting up the local dive bar or a classy cocktail haunt is not an option for us in the COVID era. And when you’re spending a lot of time at home, you start to feel pretty trapped if you’re always indoors. I vowed that I would actually leave my house regularly to sip a margarita on our patio, as long as the weather was cooperative. But throughout the summer, those pesky bugs continued to interfere with any desire to take my Boulevardier outside.

Temperatures now are starting to drop, but I’m a few weeks away from admitting that patio season is over. And while mosquitos are becoming less of an issue, they still haven’t disappeared from our backyard. Luckily, I do at least have something that mitigates the situation to the level of tolerable. Enter the mosquito pig.

My husband and I first learned about these cute little ceramic contraptions when watching an episode of “Japanese Style Originator,” which covered seasonal traditions in Japan. Known as kayaributa, you can find the piggies accessorizing many a home in that country (they’re iconic enough that I’ve even seen sweets made in the shape of them).

Here’s how they work: There’s a small hook inside where you can hang a round incense coil that when burned, helps repel insects (the aroma it gives off is also actually quite pleasant). My husband bought me one for a special occasion, and anytime I’m outside (usually with a cocktail in hand), my piggy friend and I are basically inseparable. I find myself with significantly fewer bites each time the animal’s in action, and the little guy is totally adorable to boot. Now, if I can just keep those cold temperatures away for a few more weeks...