The summer season is here, and so are the mosquitoes. While it’s the time for backyard barbecuing for us, the mosquitoes have their own plans for a magnificent feast.
It’s not just the continuous buzzing of mosquitoes in our ears that annoy us to no end, the mosquito bites can prove extremely dangerous in some cases. That’s why it is essential for you to know how to avoid mosquitoes at all times. There are many ways to deter the mosquitoes, including applying insect repellants and taking some preventive measures.
How to Apply Insect Repellants
The best way to prevent mosquitoes’ bites is to apply insect repellents. However, many people don’t apply them properly, which leads to skin rashes and irritation. This is how you can safely apply the repellants without causing any damage:
- Apply sunscreen on your skin beforehand.
- Never apply repellents under your clothes.
- Don’t spray the insect repellant on your face.
- Avoid the injured areas when applying mosquito repellent.
- Thoroughly wash your hands after you apply the repellant, as the remains can go into your eyes in case you rub your hands on your face unknowingly.
How to Avoid Mosquitoes
Here is a list of things you can do to fight the mosquito bites, based on entomologists’ suggestions:
1. Rub DEET Before Heading Outside
Despite the bad reputation of DEET because of its inauspicious reactions, it is not at all harmful when you apply it as directed on the package. Many people make the mistake of spraying it all over themselves like a perfume, which is the wrong way of applying any repellant. It would be best if you always sprayed DEET on your hands, and then rub it onto your forehead, wrists, ankles, elbows, and other places where mosquitoes target you the most.
Another important fact to know about the products containing DEET is that its concentration determines how long it will last, not how well it will work. For example, if you are using a spray or lotion with 5 percent DEET, it will last for about 90 minutes, while if you get one with 25 to 30 percent DEET, it will last for several hours.
2. Wear Light-Colored, Tightly Woven Clothing
Mosquitoes use their eyesight to locate food sources during day time. The dark-colored objects attract their vision more than the soft colors; that’s why it is best to wear colors that don’t stand out much when you are going out.
It would be best if you wear long-sleeved and tightly woven clothes to place a barrier between your skin and mosquito bites. Materials like cotton and linen don’t protect as much against mosquitoes because they are lightly weaved and can be easily penetrated through the mosquito stylets.
3. Clear Away the Standing Water
Puddles of water, including ponds, rainwater, drain water, and reservoirs, tend to produce mosquitoes that pass on severe diseases when they bite. Entomologists state that the most dangerous mosquitoes are bred in the yard’s standing water and human-made rainwater containers.
If you want your home to be a mosquito-free zone, make sure all puddles of water are cleared away from around your house.
4. Invest In Oscillating Fans
According to Dr. Jonathan Day, Professor of Medical Entomology, mosquitoes find it difficult to fly in all breezes above 1 mph. If you pick a spot for your summer outings, choose one with a relatively windy area to steer clear of the mosquitoes.
The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) also advises people to use oscillating fans wherever the mosquitoes are more active. These fans are the best option for keeping your deck clear of mosquitoes as well.
5. Avoid the Peak Mosquito Hours
Because the mosquitoes are most active around dusk and dawn, you should limit your outdoor time at these times to avoid the mosquito bites. Although, when you go out, remember to put on mosquito repellent and wear full-sleeved clothing for further protection.
6. Use Mosquito Nettings Where You Can
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using mosquito nettings, where there isn’t enough protection or screening against mosquitoes. It is best to cover the windows in your house and infant carriers with the netting during the rainy season.
7. Make Use of Coffee and Tea Wastes
As unlikely as it sounds, spreading coffee and tea wastes in your yard soil works tremendously for keeping the mosquitoes to a minimum. The smell deters mosquitoes and all kinds of pests away from your home.
8. Apply Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)
CDC states that the oil of lemon eucalyptus works just as efficiently as DEET for repelling mosquitoes. Researchers experimented with several repellant formulas to test their effectiveness and found that this plant-based product is the only DEET-free formula to provide long-lasting and safe results.
9. Avoid Scented Products
Most perfumes or scented lotions and soaps attract mosquitoes. It might be difficult to cut out the perfumes from your life, but if you want to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, try to avoid the scented products in rainy weather as much as you can.
10. Plant Flowers That Deter Mosquitoes From Your House
There are particular flowers whose smell annoys mosquitoes, including lavender, marigold, basil, and citronella. It may not be the most effective way to discourage mosquitoes from entering your home, but it does repel them to a certain extent.
You can also use citronella candles as a natural insect repellent. However, make sure to place them directly on the ground so that their smoke reaches the mosquitoes, working as a barrier between you and them.
11. Reduce the Opportunities for Mosquitoes to Lay Their Eggs
Standing water and moist soil increase the chances of mosquitoes to lay their eggs. It would help if you made sure the following items are free of water puddles before the mosquito season is in full force:
- Old tires
- Uneven ditches
- Clogged gutters
- Open rainwater containers
- Outdoor dripping faucets
- Garbage cans
12. Maintain Your Yard’s Grass
When you keep your yard free of leaf litter and debris and cut your grass time-to-time, it reduces the possibility of mosquitoes to hide under there. Maintaining your yard also helps control the mosquitoes from breeding in the wet soil.
Now that you know how to avoid mosquitoes, you can take the necessary precautions accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mosquitoes
Do All Mosquitoes Bite?
Both male and female mosquitoes mainly feed on plant and fruit nectars. However, the female mosquitoes need the protein from blood to help develop their eggs.
How Do Mosquitoes Locate the Food Sources?
Mosquitoes find their targets using their vision and smell senses. The dark-toned objects tend to appeal more to mosquitoes, that’s why it is advised to wear light colors in the mosquito season. Also, the mosquitoes use their antennae to detect the carbon dioxide (CO2) released from our bodies in the form of breath and sweat.
Mosquitoes target babies and pregnant women the most because their body temperature is higher as compared to others.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
The mosquito’s saliva contains foreign proteins and anticoagulants, which triggers the human body’s immune system. The immune system produces histamine to fight against these substances. Histamine helps the white blood cells reach the affected area, and that is what causes itchiness and irritation.
How to Treat Mosquito Bites?
You can treat mosquito bites by washing the spots with warm soap-water. If you feel a slight irritation or pain, you can also use painkillers, antihistamines, and anti-itch medications.
Developing any severe symptoms from a mosquito bite is very rare. However, if you react to the bite that is not normal, you should immediately contact your doctor.
What Diseases Can Mosquitoes Transfer?
Some mosquitoes carry bacteria, viruses, or parasites in their saliva. Their bites can transmit pathogens into your body that can cause severe diseases, sometimes life-threatening ones. Some of the major diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are dengue, malaria, zika, West Nile, yellow fever, tularemia, and Ross River fever.
How High Can Mosquitoes Fly?
Normally, mosquitoes fly at a height of 25 feet to 30 feet from the ground. However, some distinct kinds of mosquitoes have been found breeding at about 8,000 feet in the Himalayas.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?
The lifespan of mosquitoes varies by species. While most female mosquitoes live for three weeks, many other species can live for as long as six months.
How Many Mosquito Species Are There?
There are over 35,000 mosquito species worldwide. 176 of these species are officially recognized in the United States.
How Do Mosquito Traps Work?
The mosquito traps send out a signal to mosquitoes by exhaling a plume of carbon dioxide (CO2), mimicking a person or an animal. This attracts the mosquitoes into getting inside the traps efficiently.
From Where Can You Get More Information About Mosquitoes?
You can visit the World Health Organization (WHO) or the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) websites to get further information and ask questions about how to avoid mosquitoes, their bites, and transmitted diseases.