4 Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites
Summer is great, but mosquitoes not so much. Having the sound of a mosquito in your ear is one of the most annoying sounds there is and mosquito bites aren’t exactly much fun either. Not only are bites itchy and irritating, they can also be quite dangerous if you happen to get bit by a mosquito that’s carrying a serious disease like yellow fever, malaria, Zika, or West Nile.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can reduce the chances of getting bit by mosquitoes whether you’re planning a camping trip in the wilderness or simply enjoying a backyard barbecue. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways you can keep mosquitoes at bay in order to protect you and your family’s health and sanity this summer.
Avoid Mosquito Hotspots
There are definitely places that are more prone to mosquitoes than others and many times the occurrence of mosquitoes and other biting insects is seasonal. Mosquitoes love warm humid conditions, which is why the tropics and places like Florida in the U.S. are often plagued with the buzzing nightmares. They also love to be around water, so regions with many lakes, rivers, and wetlands will often see a higher concentration of mosquitoes.
If you’re planning an international or even domestic vacation, it’s wise to do a bit of research on a traveler information or health protection agency website like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). These websites often give helpful information regarding destinations that are exceptionally prone to mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. They will also advise you of any immunizations or anti-malarial drugs you should take as a precaution if you do decide to travel to a mosquito prone region.
If your own backyard happens to be a literal breeding ground for mosquitoes, it may be wise to hire a professional mosquito control service like nativeshield.com/mosquito-control/ that can quickly and effectively eradicate mosquitoes from your backyard.
Professional mosquito repellant technicians know how to recognize and eliminate popular mosquito landing and breeding sites and can make your property a much more inhospitable place for mosquitoes to hang out. Many mosquito control companies also use all-natural, organic products that don’t contain any harmful chemicals. This ensures that your family and pets will be both safe and hopefully free of mosquitoes.
Wear Proper Clothing and Repellent
While you may be able to treat your backyard for mosquitoes, you can’t exactly clear wilderness areas of mosquitoes when you plan to do some camping, hiking, or fishing at the lake. This means you need to take necessary precautions by wearing appropriate clothing and using some type of repellent to deter mosquitoes from biting you.
Mosquitoes love bare skin, and sadly the warmer weather of summer sees us wearing shorts and t-shirts often. While it may not always be comfortable, wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts can greatly decrease your chances of getting bit. That being said, mosquitoes can still maneuver their proboscis in-between the threads of thin fabrics, so long pants and sleeves aren’t always 100% effective.
It is also recommended that you wear light-colored clothing, as research suggests that mosquitoes and other insects are often attracted to dark colors. Some clothing brands also offer specific shirts and pants that are treated with an insecticide called permethrin which can stop mosquitoes. Clothing treated with this chemical is said to remain effective even after dozens of washes.
You can also purchase permethrin spray that can be applied to your regular clothing, shoes, and other items like tents to deter mosquitoes. This type of spray is meant to be used on fabrics and should never be applied directly to your skin as you can do with common insect repellents.
Speaking of mosquito repellents, there’s no shortage of brands to choose from, but the most effective are those containing DEET or picaridin. Generally regarded as being safe to apply to your skin, you can easily find these products that will give you hours of protection when spending time outdoors. You should apply spray to the areas of your body which most commonly attract mosquitoes such as your ankles, wrists, and neck. Avoid getting repellent in your eyes, nose, and mouth and it’s never a bad idea to take a shower to remove the repellent before settling into bed at the end of the day.
People who find they are sensitive or allergic to chemicals found in popular mosquito repellents may want to try a natural repellent. Essential oils like lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass oil have all shown to be effective against mosquitoes and may help you to avoid skin irritation.
Various mosquito Repellents: photo by Mike mozart
Avoid Periods When Mosquitoes are Most Active
While mosquitoes may be more prevalent during the summer months, they generally prefer to avoid the heat of midday and direct sunlight. This is why you may notice they seem to come out around dawn and dusk when it’s a bit cooler. They can still be found during the midday in shady humid places like forests or garages, so it’s best to avoid these places during this period of the day.
Mosquitoes also prefer early morning and evenings because that is usually when winds are calmer. Mosquitoes aren’t the strongest of fliers and excessive wind will see them seeking out cover until it passes. However, light rain seems to bring out a greater abundance of mosquitoes so you may want to cover up with a light rain jacket to remain both unbitten and dry.
Avoiding Mosquito Bites Inside Your Home
While we like to think of our homes as a safe refuge, mosquitoes and other insects seem to make their way inside from time to time. Trying to sleep when there’s a mosquito buzzing around your head is no easy task. To avoid this, make sure to place screens on your windows and doors and seal up any gaps that may be present.
Mosquitoes have a habit of really coming out just after you turn off all the lights and settle into bed. You can avoid them ruining your sleep by fitting your bed with cheap insect netting that will prevent mosquitoes from getting close enough to disturb you. Some netting brands are even equipped with a time-release insecticide and others are portable, allowing you to take them with you while camping.
You can also take advantage of mosquitoes being somewhat poor fliers by keeping an oscillating fan on in your house. This will not only keep you cool in the summer but may reduce the number of mosquitoes bothering you. You’ll also want to remove any sources of standing water from around your houses such as buckets or birdbaths, as these become great breeding spots for mosquitoes.
And finally, while citronella candles, coils, and torches may be great for keeping mosquitoes at bay on your deck and in your backyard, they should not be used indoors. Burning these products indoors can lead to poor air quality and could negatively affect your health. However, when used outdoors these products can sometimes provide an effective albeit limited range of protection from mosquitoes.
We hope these tips help you enjoy a summer with fewer mosquitoes. While we will never eliminate these pesky insects, there are many ways we can live a little more comfortably with them around.