Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Mosquito Deterrents

Cartoon mosquito looking at stop sign
There’s just no getting around the fact that mosquitoes are more than nuisances – they’re dangerous and formidable opponents. We carry many excellent mosquito control products, but there are additional things one can do to improve their chances in the war between humans and mosquitoes. 

If you’re going to be out and about and know that mosquitoes will be a problem, you can begin your defense plan as soon as you get out of the shower. There are oils and lotions that are very helpful in repelling mosquitoes but choose carefully because some may actually be inviting bites.
A group of smiling cartoon mosquitoes. Certain essential oils, including lemon eucalyptus peppermint, lavender, geranium and citronella oil, have time-proven efficacy as repellents so apply them to your body generously. A secondary benefit of using these oils is the delightful scent that will surround you.  
Catnip oil is another oil to try. According to this article, the oil is extracted from the catnip plant via steam distillation, and the process eliminates the chemicals that make catnip irresistible to cats. The catnip plant is known to have a scent mosquitoes dislike, so it only makes sense that the distilled oil would be even more repellent to them.
A smiling cartoon mosquito.
For the most part, flowery perfumes and body lotions should be avoided. However, there is one strong exception to this rule: Avon’s Skin So Soft. Over many, many years millions of people have found this body oil to be an exceptional mosquito repellent. In fact, this product has been used by U.S. Marines as a mosquito repellent for more than 50 years on and around their training facility on Parris Island South Carolina. In the low country down there, mosquitoes are voracious, so these tough marines douse themselves in this sweet-smelling stuff. After all, it’s better to smell girly than be eaten alive. 
A leering cartoon mosquito with a knife and fork.
You should be aware that the above types of oils do not have the long-lasting effect that many commercial mosquito repellents do. On average, they last about two hours.

After you have carefully considered what to put on your bare body, put a little extra thought into what you wear (after all, you’ll look good in anything). 
Mosquitoes are attracted to the CO2 that mammals produce, but they also use their vision to zero in on a target. According to this article, as they fly characteristically slow and low to the ground, they respond to dark objects on the horizon. Which means you should probably choose a pastel as opposed to your favorite Goth outfit.
This study takes the whole color thing one step further. It finds that mosquitoes like red, orange, black and cyan and snub green, purple, blue and white.
A cartoon mosquito quivering in fear.
Mosquitoes love the sweaty dirtiness of feet and there is very little as annoying as mosquito bites between your toes. For these reasons, skip the sandals and put some shoes on (even better, with socks).
While summer seems more bearable in cool and flowing clothing, if you are interested in doing everything you can to avoid mosquitoes than you need to don some tightly woven synthetic clothing (extra points for a high tech athletic wear made for sun protection). Mosquitoes may seem small, but their proboscises are rather large insect-wise and simply cannot fit through some of these fabrics. The downside is that  you’ll need to wear long sleeves and pants for optimal results, which may be a little too much coverage on a particularly hot day.
A group of cartoon mosquitoes looking scared and worried.

No one is able to control the whole outdoors, of course, but you should look at the outdoor space you can control – your backyard, patio, porch or balcony.
You probably already know that you should remove all standing water, but you may not be aware that mosquitoes only need a bottle-cap of water to lay their eggs in. It is also easy to overlook breeding spots like gutters, recycling bins, drains and saucers under plants. Instead of a quick once-over, give your outdoor space some careful
A cartoon mosquito screaming in fear.
consideration to root out standing water.
Reconsider the plants in your space to make sure you don’t have any that are welcoming to mosquitoes. If you do, remove them and add plants that repel skeeters. Nectar-producing flowers and water plants are attractive to mosquitoes (here’s more on that), while the plants that contain the aforementioned oils are excellent repellents (there are others too, check them out here). 
Keep all your grasses cut down and remove any yard debris. Mosquitoes love to hide out in the relative safety of such places; it protects them from the elements – particularly sun and wind.
A cartoon mosquito running in fear.
Speaking of wind, mosquitoes are poor flyers so put a fan in your outdoor space. If it is set high enough mosquitoes will not be able to fight the wind it produces in order to get to you
A short clip of two cartoon mosquitoes in love, until  one gets squished and the other drinks its blood. The proper outdoor lighting can also help with mosquito control. We are all familiar with the horde of insects beating against a porch or backdoor light, but a change of bulbs can element that behavior. Use incandescent or LED lighting, especially that which has a yellow glow, and you’ll see fewer mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how to lessen the effect of mosquitoes. All of these tips are valuable, but when used in conjunction with commercial mosquito control products you should see a marked improvement. If none of this works for you, you may just want to stay inside until the first frost kills the mosquitoes.

Submitted by Pam

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