It’s backyard barbecue season, and you’re not the only one planning a feast. The mosquitoes are out and ready to chow down. Preventing mosquito bites should be a priority, because they can carry deadly diseases, like the West Nile or Zika viruses.
Here are some ways that you can avoid these pesky pests.
Blow them away with a breeze
Almost anybreeze – anything above 1 MPH – makes it difficult for mosquitoes to fly. If you can pick a breezy spot for your summer outing, that can help prevent mosquito bites. Plug-in fans are also a great deterrent. Keep the flow of air directed at the lower half of your body; mosquitoes tend to fly very close to the ground to avoid wind, so directing the fan’s force downward will block their approach.
Avoid peak mosquito hours
Just like you, mosquitoes crave a meal during certain times of day, and it’s often around dusk and dawn. That’s because the wind typically dissipates as the sun rises and sets, which brings mosquitoes out to feed. If you can try to stay inside during these times when the weather is warm, you’ll be able to prevent some mosquito bites.
Rub on some DEET before you head outdoors
DEET has a bad reputation, but adverse reactions to it are rare and typically happen when used incorrectly. When used as directed, it’s extremely effective, since it blocks a mosquito’s CO2 receptors.
The best way to use DEET is not to spray it on your body and clothes like perfume. Instead, squirt a little onto your hands and rub it onto your ankles, elbows, wrists, forehead, and all the other places where your skin is thin and where mosquitoes love to feed.
Use other mosquito repellents if you’re not into DEET
There are other options that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for use in repelling mosquitoes, including Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), and 2-undecanone. If you’re at the store and you’re not sure if a repellent has these ingredients, your safest bet is to look for the Environmental Protection Agency approval on the product’s label. Then you will know it’s effective and safe.
Try to stay cool
This can be easier said than done in the summer, but mosquitoes are drawn to pheromones released in your sweat. This can vary from person to person. Some people attract mosquitoes regardless of what they drink, eat, or wear.
Wear tightly woven, light-colored clothes
Mosquitoes can’t penetrate clothing that has a very tight weave. While cotton and linen typically aren’t great armor against mosquito bites, many synthetic fibers – particularly high-tech athletic apparel – tend to be woven tightly enough to keep bugs out. Any garment that offers sun protection will also have a tight enough weave to prevent mosquito bites, especially when you opt for long sleeves and pants.
Mosquitoes also use their vision to search for food sources during the daylight hours. Since they fly very close to the ground, they tend to find targets by looking for things that contrast with the horizon. Dark colors stand out, and light colors are less attractive to them.
Avoid scented products
Any scented perfume, lotion, or soap could potentially attract mosquitoes. If you want to reduce your attractiveness to mosquitoes, avoid scented products in general.
Give your heart a breather
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary thing mosquitoes search for to identify food sources. When your heart rate is elevated, your body produces more CO2. From exercise to drinking alcohol to eating spicy foods, anything that cranks up your metabolic rate will increase your CO2 production and make you irresistible to mosquitoes. If you’re outdoors and know your heart rate will be spiking, make sure you wear protective clothing and apply a repellent to keep bites at bay.
Get rid of standing water
Mosquitoes can easily breed in small containers of water like a birdbath or water sitting around your plants. Do your best to clear out any standing water to lower the odds that you’ll have lots of mosquitoes in your yard.
Adding mosquito-repelling plants to your property
This shouldn’t be your only mosquito-combating strategy, but certain plants may help discourage mosquitoes from hovering near your house. Mosquito-repelling plants include citronella, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, and basil.
While these plants may lower the number of mosquitoes around your place, even planted in large quantities, the potency of these plants would not be enough to keep mosquitoes out of your yard entirely. The same goes for citronella candles and oils. They do repel insects, but they only work if the scent or smoke gets between you and the mosquito.
Spray your yard
If you live in an area where the mosquitoes are unbearable, it might be worth hiring a professional to come and treat your yard with insecticide. This treatment will do a good job of ensuring that mosquitoes won’t come anywhere near your property.
We Can Help
If you are having issues with mosquitoes, give Amco Ranger a call to get a free quote for professional, ongoing defense in your yard. Treatments are tailored to your property and are applied by certified, trained technicians. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of pests in your home in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Louis, and surrounding communities.