Backyard cookouts, concerts in the park, and hiking in the great outdoors all make you prone to being bitten by mosquitoes. In addition to sucking your blood and all the fun out of your summertime activities, mosquitoes carry a variety of diseases. However, there is no reason you have to let yourself be a victim to the pesky little bloodsuckers.
Over the years people have devised a variety of ways of trying to deal with mosquitoes, with some being effective and others not working out so well. For instance, citronella candles, vitamin B1 skin patches, and electric bug zappers are largely ineffective at keeping mosquitoes away. New smartphone apps that claim to emit a high-frequency sound designed to keep mosquitoes away have proven to be ineffective also. Those aside, there are some tried-and-true ways to ward off mosquitoes. Here are the top ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes in 2021:
Avoid Areas of High Mosquito Activity
Mosquitoes will be in abundance wherever there are wet or damp conditions. These include areas of standing water, especially stagnant pools, and places that remain damp for days after a rain, such as brush piles in shaded areas. The highest incidences of mosquito-borne diseases are found in areas with high mosquito populations. You can avoid these areas by checking on the Centers for Disease Control and The World Health Organization websites.
You are What You Eat
While there are a plethora of anecdotal reports that claim eating spicy foods like garlic will help keep mosquitoes away, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support the claims. However, there is some evidence that suggests ingesting spicy foods will attract the little buggers to you by making you sweat. Drinking beer also seems to draw mosquitoes to some people.
Clothing can make a big difference in whether or not you will be on the mosquito’s diner menu. Mosquitoes will most often go for any area of exposed skin, especially the legs since they are closest to the ground where the pests live. Because of this, it’s a good idea to wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect yourself against mosquito bites. While you may not want to wear long sleeves and pants during the summer, you don’t have to wear heavy clothes to keep the bugs away. Lightweight clothing made from synthetic fiber is ideal anti-mosquito summertime attire. This is because these types of fabrics have a tighter weave and make it harder for mosquitoes to get their beak through than natural fibers like cotton.
The color of the fabric also seems to make a big difference in attracting mosquitoes. Aside from scent, mosquitoes use their vision to locate food sources during daylight hours. As they tend to fly relatively close to the ground, and most animals are dark-colored, mosquitoes target things that contrast with the lighter horizon. As such, lighter and neutral-colored clothing will camouflage you and help keep you off the bug’s radar.
Catch a Breeze
As they weigh next to nothing, any little gust of wind above one MPH will blow mosquitoes far away. This makes mosquitoes stay on the ground anytime there is even the slightest breeze. Even on calm days, the tops of hills may still have enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Additionally, a big box or oscillating fan set on low and placed on the deck or patio will keep the area mosquito-free so you can enjoy your cookout in peace.
Reduce Breeding Areas
Mosquitoes breed and lay their eggs anywhere there is standing water. This includes things like a birdbath, trash cans, tarps covering lawn equipment or woodpiles, old tires, and anything else that can catch and hold rainwater. If possible, fill in any swampy or low-lying areas on your property to keep water from collecting. Whenever possible, drain areas of standing water and spray trash cans and other areas that collect water with an insecticide. Additionally, studies have shown that spreading used coffee grounds and the contents of used tea bags will reduce mosquito reproduction rates.
Don’t Sweat It
One of the scents mosquitoes are attracted to is lactic acid, a byproduct of human sweat. Mosquitoes have sensillae, microscopic sensitive small hairs on their antennae and mouths, that contain scent receptors to help them locate food sources. When out for a walk, try not to exert yourself to the point of sweating, if possible. If you have been perspiring from working or exercising, taking a shower before going outside will greatly reduce your appeal to mosquitoes.
There is a wide assortment of insect repellents on the market with just as a wide assortment of ingredients that all have varying degrees of effectiveness. Here are the most effective ones:
• Picaridin bug repellent: Labeled as KBR 3023, picaridin is a highly effective synthetic compound modeled after the compound piperine found naturally in plants used to produce black pepper.
• DEET: Chemically known as N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, mosquito repellent containing DEET is highly effective at repelling all sorts of bugs. However, many people have concerns about putting harsh chemicals on their skin and especially their children.
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus: The Centers for Disease Control states that these naturally derived plant-based preparations work as well as DEET products. Be careful not to confuse oil of lemon eucalyptus repellents with pure oil of lemon eucalyptus as the latter is not effective at repelling mosquitoes.
• Travel size bug spray: Whatever preparation you choose, remember that repellent is of no use if you leave it at home.
Proven® Mosquito Repellent
Insect repellents have historically offered solutions that contain either harsh chemicals or ineffective natural oils. At Proven® we didn’t want you to have to choose one over the other. We have developed an entire line of insect repellent sprays and lotions, including a mosquito repellent for toddlers, without harsh chemicals that you can trust to keep bugs away from your family all day.
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