Mosquito infestations are no joke. Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance. Their itchy bites can cause a spread of diseases like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. If you’ve been losing your battle against mosquitoes or just want to get ahead of the mosquito control season, here are a few remedies you can use to prevent getting bit this summer.
Create Physical Barriers
Physical barriers between you and mosquitoes don’t have to be anything big or fancy. In fact, it’s something as simple as what you’re wearing. One way to prevent mosquito bites is to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed to shoes. If the mosquitoes in your area are particularly persistent you may want to wear thicker, woven materials.
For indoor mosquito prevention, make sure that you have screens on your windows and doors and that there are no holes in them. If you like to have the windows open in your home, screens are the only defense keeping mosquitoes out.
If you don’t have screens on your windows but you want to have them open, use mosquito netting to protect yourself and your family. Mosquito nets can be draped over beds or cribs to keep mosquitoes away during their most active hours. These are particularly important and helpful for babies and toddlers who are prone to the diseases that mosquitoes spread. Consider also using mosquito nets if you are camping in a heavily mosquito populated area.
Use Mosquito Repellent
Many types of mosquito repellent are registered with the CDC and EPA, making them safe both for human use and for the environment. However, not all types of repellent will be right for every situation.
First, whatever repellent you choose should have an approved active ingredient. These ingredients are DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Additionally, some repellents work against both mosquitoes and ticks, while some only prevent mosquitoes. Finally, be aware of how long you want the repellent to work for. The EPA has a helpful guide to help you search for the repellent that will work best for you.
Drain Standing Water
Mosquito prevention is sometimes a community affair. Ask your neighbors to assist in draining standing water around your neighborhood. This can include bird baths, old tires, kayaks, children toys, and anything else you might come across. Dump the water out and then scrub the offending area to kill off any eggs that may be residing there.
If only one household in the neighborhood drains their water, that residence will still be swarmed by mosquitoes from the neighbors. The only way to decrease the mosquito population in an area is to take wider spread action.
Use a Fan
Mosquitoes are light and not strong fliers, so a fan provides protection for you and any guests against mosquitoes nearby. Mosquitoes are not able to fly through the strong winds in their typical zig-zag pattern, so they can’t reach their potential targets. This is a simple, low-tech way to stay safe.
On a small scale, citronella and other candles or torches can be effective and repelling mosquitoes. However, contrary to popular belief, the scent of the candle does not repel mosquitoes — it’s the smoke. If you want citronella candles to work they should be placed nearby in a smaller setting.
Breadfruit, Lavender, and Rosemary
Breadfruit, lavender oil, and rosemary plants have long been said to repel mosquitoes. In recent years, the USDA confirmed that breadfruit contains three acid compounds that are more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. Breadfruit is native to Pacific islands, so it is difficult to find in the continental United States. However, for people in those regions, dried breadfruit flowers are a useful alternative to more traditional mosquito repellents.
Although not verified by the USDA or CDC, many people swear by the folk remedy. Rosemary is useful for keeping mosquitoes away from whoever the grillmaster is for your outdoor event. Place a bunch of rosemary on the grill while the cook works to protect them from getting bit.
Bats and Birds in the Yard
Bats and birds are natural predators to mosquitoes, so they do a fair job at decreasing the mosquito population around your home. You can draw more bats and birds to your home by putting a bat shelter in your backyard. Keep in mind however, that there may be a tradeoff of fewer mosquitoes for more bats. Additionally, mosquitoes typically only take up 1% of a bat’s daily diet.
Mosquitoes don’t have to be a nightmare for you and your family. There are measures you can take to repel mosquitoes, even in the most desperate situations. Contact Edge to start your pest control in Beaverton, and surrounding areas, before an infestation gets out of control.