Mosquitos; Stop Their Bite!

Mosquitoes are out in swarms & are a big itchy nuisance. Mosquitoes don’t see well, so they use scent & heat to find us. Beer & Bananas, for example, may actually attract mosquitos. Find out are a few Mosquitoes bite prevention tips:

1)      Wear light colored clothing (if they can’t see you they are less likely to bite you). Keep still...if you are moving you are something alive (with blood that mosquitos want).

2)      Use insect repellent, just don't put it around your lips & eyes or around wounds & irritated skin.

Insect repellents contain DEET (a poison that mosquitoes don’t like).  When it comes to children 1 - 8 years, don’t use an insect repellents with DEET in concentrations greater than 25%. Never put DEET on a baby’s skin.

3)  When sitting outdoors, citronella candles can help (but are only effective when you are in close proximity to the vapors). Other products like citronella clip-ons are also available.

4)  Mosquitoes use scent to find us. This includes the carbon dioxide (CO2) that we exhale our body odour & fragrances worn.

- I teach First Aid CPR certification courses to quite a few people, who work in construction, oil industry etc. Many have said that after eating bananas, mosquitoes were more attracted to them.

I have learned that bananas are high in Potassium, which attracts mosquitos. While scientific studies related to mosquitos & the foods/beverage we consume are limited, it might be best to eat/pack citrus fruits (instead of bananas) if heading outdoors.

- Don’t use a fragranced sun screen, when going on a hike (I learned this the hard way). If planning to enjoy the outdoors, don’t wear perfumed hair products, deodorants, lotions etc. To prevent mosquito bites; switch to as many unscented products as you can.

The Canadian Garden Magazine lists a variety of plants that mosquitoes don’t like:

- plant marigolds or lavender in containers, & then place the containers where you want a mosquito-free zone (mosquitoes don’t like their fragrance). Other plants that mosquitos don’t like include: citronella grass, lemon grass & catnip (plant these next to your patio).

- rub basil, lavender &/or peppermint leaves on the skin as a natural mosquito repellent. Eucalyptus & Tea Tree fragrances also repel mosquitos.

- use rosemary, garlic & cloves as natural mosquito repellents.  If we eat more garlic, mosquitos may not be as quick to bite us.

For more information about plants that repel mosquitos:

5)  Mosquitoes don't see very well, but they are heat-seeking experts/missiles.

            - The warmer your body is, the easier it is for a mosquito to find you. Pregnant women,         for example, produce more body heat & therefore attract more mosquitoes.

- People, who work or exercise out doors are mosquito magnets. This is because they are producing great body heat & lactic acid as well as exhaling more carbon dioxide (all of which attract mosquitoes). If you like to mountain-bike or hike, take mosquito repellent (important for back-country survival/emergencies).

- I have heard mosquitoes are more attracted to people, who are drinking beer. It is suggested that this could have something to do with an increase in blood flow & body heat. I have found little supportive scientific data on this topic. Personally, I find an occasional cold beer on a hot summer day refreshing (mosquitoes be damned)!

Here are more mosquito bite & breeding prevention tips:

6)      Mosquitoes are out most at dusk & dawn. They like cooler weather & shade. If possible, stay indoors during these times.

7)      Mosquitoes prefer to be in the grass (so stay on the pathway, gravel or sidewalk).

8)      Wear long-sleeved shirts & pants when outside.

9)      Don't leave your doors open & make sure your windows are covered with screens.

10)  It is believed that mosquitoes are more attracted to incandescent lights (in part, perhaps because of the heat these lights produce). For outdoor lighting, consider installing fluorescent lights. 

11)  Bug zappers aren't recommended as they kill good insects too. 

12)   A good website, about mosquitoes (Fighting the Bite):

13)   Get rid of any stagnant water. Empty any standing water that you might find in your yard. Water collects in old tires, in flower pot trays, in wading pools etc. Twice weekly, clean your bird bath & add fresh water. Clean your house eaves troughs, spring & fall, as debris can cause water to accumulate.

14)   If you have a rain barrel, ensure openings are covered by screens.

15)   Aerate ornamental ponds. Stock ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae.

Don’t let mosquitoes take a bite out of your summer…Enjoy!