As the warm summer months come into full swing, so do the swarms of mosquitoes looking for a full meal. Unfortunately, that means mosquito bites are inevitable. The good news is there are things you can do to help deter mosquito bites, including the type of clothes to wear, repellent devices, and bed nets, and keeping them from ruining your summer fun.
Here we will take a closer look at some tips that can help make you less appealing to these biting insects, how to treat mosquito bites and ways to help reduce the mosquito population around your home.
While eliminating mosquitoes from everywhere you go is near impossible, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of becoming a mosquito buffet and still enjoy your time outdoors.
- You can reduce your risk of mosquito bites by wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and using mosquito repellents containing DEET, picaridin, PMD, or IR3535 insecticide.
- Mosquito nets, including traditional rectangular nets, pop-up nets, and canopy bed nets, can protect you while you sleep.
- To eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, remove standing water from outdoor containers, clear clogged gutters and drains, and maintain outdoor water features.
- Landscaping and yard maintenance, such as keeping grass short, trimming shrubs, and using outdoor fans, can also help reduce mosquito populations.
- Biological and chemical control methods, as well as professional mosquito control services, can be effective in reducing mosquito populations.
4 ways to avoid mosquito bites
When mosquitoes invade your picnic or BBQ at the local park or beach, there often isn’t much you can do to eliminate these pests. However, there are things you can do to make yourself less appealing to these bloodsuckers and reduce the number of bites you go home with.
1. Clothing considerations
Believe it or not, what you wear can play a major role in your mosquito appeal. Light-colored, thick fabric, and loose-fit clothing are your best options. However, chances are you don’t want to spend the afternoon outdoors in long sleeves and long pants. Avoiding dark colors, such as black, dark blue, and dark red. Choosing lighter colors like white or yellow may provide a deterrent even if your skin is exposed.
2. Mosquito repellents
Mosquito repellents vary from chemical repellents that contain any of the following:
- DEET: It is a widely used active ingredient in insect repellents, very effective in repelling insects, including mosquitoes. While it is generally safe, it should be applied according to the product’s instructions to avoid any potential skin irritation or other adverse effects.
- Picaridin: Also known as Icaridin, this works by blocking the olfactory senses of insects such as mosquitoes, making it harder for them to recognize humans as a target. PMD
- IR3535: It works by confusing the insect’s sense of smell, making it difficult for them to target humans. You can apply it to both skin and clothing, and it’s often combined with sunscreens. It’s generally considered safe to use.
Natural alternatives include repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus, or citronella can also help deter mosquitoes from feasting.
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) is a natural repellent derived from the leaves of the Eucalyptus tree. The main active ingredient is a plant-based derivative that can effectively repel insects.
- Citronella is a natural insect repellent derived from lemongrass. It is one of the most commonly used natural substances for this purpose. Citronella works by masking scents that are attractive to insects, making it harder for them to locate their targets. However, it’s less effective as a mosquito repellent than DEET, Picaridin, OLE, and IR3535 since it evaporates quickly and needs frequent reapplication.
3. Bed nets and window screens
The last thing you want is to be kept up at night while mosquitoes buzz around. Keeping mosquitoes outside your living area is essential whether you are home or on a camping trip. At home, it is important to ensure that all windows have undamaged screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering. Keep doors closed and do everything to keep these pests outside.
When camping, it is a little harder to prevent these pests from joining you in your tent. If this is the case, consider using a mosquito net to hang over your bed or drape over a playpen for your little ones.
Types of bed nets
There are several types of mosquito bed nets that can provide protection against mosquito bites while sleeping:
- Traditional rectangular bed nets: These are large, rectangular-shaped nets that can be hung from the ceiling or tied to bedposts.
- Pop-up mosquito nets: These are freestanding nets that can be set up quickly and easily, without the need for hanging or tying.
- Canopy bed nets: These are designed to fit over a four-poster bed and create a romantic and elegant atmosphere.
- Travel mosquito nets: These are compact and portable, making them ideal for travelers and campers.
- Permethrin-treated bed nets: These bed nets are treated with a chemical called permethrin, which repels mosquitoes and other insects. They are especially effective in areas with high mosquito populations and can provide long-lasting protection.
- Decorative bed nets: These are designed to add a decorative touch to a bedroom while also providing protection against mosquitoes. They come in a range of colors and styles to match any decor.
Proper installation and use
Depending on the type of net and the location, you can install mosquito nets in various ways. Follow the installation guidelines provided with your specific mosquito net.
4. Mosquito repellent devices
Mosquito repellent devices are products designed to deter mosquitoes and prevent them from biting humans. They come in various applications, including electronic devices, mosquito traps, and jewelry.
- Electronic and ultrasonic repellents: These devices emit a high-pitched sound wave that is inaudible to humans but is unpleasant to mosquitoes, helping to keep them away from the area you are in.
- Mosquito traps: These devices use attractants, such as carbon dioxide, heat, or light, to lure mosquitoes into a trap, where they are captured.
- Mosquito coils: These are spiral-shaped coils made from a mixture of insecticides and other chemicals. When the coil is burned, it releases smoke that repels mosquitoes.
- Mosquito repellent bracelets and bands: These are wearable devices that are worn on the wrist or ankle. They contain natural or synthetic repellents that keep mosquitoes away from the wearer.
Treating mosquito bites
Mosquito bites are usually harmless and go away on their own within a few days. However, they can cause discomfort and itching. Here are some tips for treating mosquito bites:
- Wash the area with soap and water to prevent infection.
- Apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling and itching.
- Use a topical cream or ointment that contains ingredients such as hydrocortisone or calamine to alleviate itching.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce itching and swelling.
- Avoid scratching the bite to prevent infection and scarring.
- If the bite becomes infected or you experience symptoms such as fever or a rash, seek medical attention.
Environmental control and pest management
The best way to avoid and prevent mosquito bites is to reduce or eliminate your local mosquito population. While you don’t have control over areas out in public, there are things you can do around your property to help keep the mosquitoes away.
Identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds
Identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds is a key step in reducing mosquito populations and the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. Mosquitoes require standing water to breed, so eliminating sources of standing water is essential. Some common breeding grounds include:
- Pools of water in outdoor containers like buckets, plant pots, and old tires
- Clogged gutters or drains that collect rainwater
- Puddles or ditches where rainwater accumulates
- Bird baths or other outdoor water features that are not properly maintained
- Overwatered lawns or gardens
- Neglected swimming pools or spas
To eliminate these breeding grounds, make sure to regularly empty and clean any outdoor containers, clear clogged gutters, and drains, fill in any low-lying areas in your yard, and maintain any outdoor water features.
Additionally, limit any standing water by not overwatering your lawn or garden and properly maintaining your swimming pool or spa.
For more information, read “How to Safely Kill Mosquito Larvae in Water”
Landscaping and yard maintenance
Landscaping and yard maintenance can play an important role in mosquito control. While we addressed standing water and its elimination to prevent mosquito breeding, these additional landscaping and yard maintenances for mosquito control can continue to reduce your mosquito population and allow you to enjoy the outdoors again.
- Keep grass short: Mow the lawn regularly and keep the grass short.
- Clear vegetation: Remove weeds, tall grass, and brush.
- Trim shrubs: Trim bushes and trees to increase sunlight and air circulation, which can reduce the number of mosquitoes.
- Use landscaping plants that repel mosquitoes: Some plants, such as citronella, lavender, and marigold, can naturally repel mosquitoes.
- Use outdoor fans: Using outdoor fans can help create a breeze that makes it harder for mosquitoes to fly.
Biological and chemical control methods
Biological and chemical methods are two common approaches to mosquito control. Biological methods involve the use of natural predators or parasites of mosquitoes to reduce their populations. This includes introducing fish that eat mosquito larvae, releasing bacteria that are toxic to mosquitoes, or using other insects that feed on mosquitoes.
On the other hand, chemical methods involve using pesticides to kill adult mosquitoes or their larvae. This can include fogging or spraying insecticides in areas with high mosquito populations or applying larvicides to standing water where mosquitoes breed. It is important to note that both of these methods can have environmental impacts and should be used carefully and with consideration for non-target species. Consulting with a professional pest control service or local health department is recommended for guidance on appropriate and safe mosquito control methods in your area.
If, despite your best efforts, the mosquito population continues to grow and keeps you and your family locked inside, it may be time to call professional mosquito control services. They will help identify breeding grounds, treat and eliminate eggs before they hatch, and apply insecticides that will stop adult mosquitoes in their tracks.
Frequently asked questions
Here, we answer some of our customers’ common questions regarding mosquitoes and mosquito bites.
How do I make myself less attractive to mosquitoes?
The best way to make yourself less attractive to mosquitoes begins with your wardrobe. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors and can bite through tight clothing. Instead, choose light colors and loose-fitting clothes. In addition, avoid wearing any perfumes or lotions, as these can actually attract mosquitoes.
Why do mosquitoes bite me so much?
When it comes to natural mosquito attraction, some people seem to be better targets than others. The reason for this can include specific body odors, blood types, and the heat and carbon dioxide your body produces.
How do you stop getting bitten?
Take note of the tips above, such as wearing light-colored clothing, using mosquito repellents, and avoiding mosquito hot spots to help reduce your risk of being bitten.
How can I protect myself from mosquitoes naturally?
While not all natural methods provide the same effectiveness as other mosquito control methods, there are some things you can do to protect yourself naturally. These include:
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs.
- Use mosquito repellents that contain natural ingredients like citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender.
- Use mosquito nets while sleeping or sitting outside.
- Eliminate standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed.
- Use fans to create air circulation which makes it harder for mosquitoes to fly around you.
- Plant mosquito-repelling plants like lavender, marigolds, and citronella around your home.
Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your day
You don’t have to share your yard or home with mosquitoes, and, while there isn’t much you can do to control the mosquito populations when you travel, there are things you can do to help keep them at bay. Following the tips to reduce your risk of being bitten and making your home and yard less appealing can allow you to venture back into your yard and enjoy time with family and friends.
Helping you keep mosquitoes away
If, despite your best efforts, you are still battling a swarm of mosquitoes every time you venture out into your yard, the team at Arrest a Pest can help. Our expert technicians will conduct a thorough inspection, identifying all the places mosquitoes use to multiply and work to eliminate not only these breeding grounds but also address the adult mosquitoes feeding on you and your family.
To learn more, schedule an evaluation today, and let us help you learn to enjoy your yard again.