August 20th is the day that you should mark in your calendar as World Mosquito Day – a tradition that was kick-started when the British doctor by the name of Ronald Ross linked mosquitoes to malaria transmission in 1897. Jump to more than a century later and we are still fighting to get ahead of malaria and many other mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile Virus and now the Zika virus. And even though not all of us are doctors or scientists that can aid in ending malaria or Zika, there are still plenty of things you can do to keep yourself and those close to you away from those pesky insects and safe from mosquito-borne diseases.
Whether you are traveling to an exotic vacation spot, road-tripping to your neighboring town or staying home and relaxing in your backyard, you can never be too prepared for mosquitoes.
So here will be my top tips how to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes this mosquito season.
Know mosquito habits
First and foremost, if you know when the mosquitoes are most active, you can avoid spending being outdoors at this time. In general, mosquitoes will be most active during dusk and dawn as the temperature and often the humidity level is just right for insects. So limit your outdoors time in the early mornings and late evening, and you should have less mosquito bites.
Know how mosquitoes locate their targets
The second thing that can help you with avoiding mosquitoes is knowing how they locate their targets. Mosquito targeting systems are very intricate, because they use a combination of methods to find their next meal. Firstly, they can sense carbon dioxide (CO2). And since we give out CO2 every time we exhale, and the heavier you breathe the more CO2 will be on your breath, you should limit the amount of exercise or labor-intensive work you do during dusk and dawn.
Mosquitoes also use plain old sight to locate their targets, but instead of seeing colors, they see heat patterns. So light colored clothing that bounces off light and therefore absorbs less heat will also be your best friend in the fight against mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes also use smell to sense flowery aromas so you should avoid wearing perfume and other hygiene products that have a sweet or floral scent if you know you will be spending a lot of time outdoors.
Use mosquito repellent and reapply it often
Repellent is your ultimate defense against mosquitoes. There are two options with distinct sets of advantages and disadvantages. If you’re happy to use a non-natural product then go for something with DEET in it because it is proven to be the most efficient and the longest lasting repellent.
If you want to go down the more natural route, look out for lemon eucalyptus oil-based repellents as it is proven they can rival DEET in its efficiency. Keep in mind that if you are using natural repellent, you will need to reapply it every couple of hours.
Implement other mosquito-control methods
If you know that you will be staying in one place for a longer time you can implement other controls that will greatly help with lowering the overall count of mosquitoes that hang around your home.
- Use a mosquito fogger to spray your immediate area with insecticide, which will let you enjoy outdoors without worrying about re-applying insect repellent
- Make sure that there is no standing water nearby as stagnant water serves as a breeding grounds for mosquitoes
- Install screens on the windows and doors of the property you are staying in
- Cover our bed with a mosquito net – you are the least protected against mosquitoes during the night
Enjoy your summer regardless if you are traveling or staying home and just relaxing, and do it free of mosquito annoyances with using these tips to win the fight against mosquitoes.
By Karen Thompson. Karen is the owner and main editor of www.InsectCop.net, a blog about learning to control and combat mosquitoes.