Especially as global warming increases the spread of mosquito-born illnesses, it's important to take steps to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
PREVENT YOUR HOME FROM BEING A MOSQUITO BREEDING GROUND:
- Drain any areas of stagnant water, no matter how small- clogged gutteres, pet water or food dishes, saucers under plants, old tires, plastic linings to keep weeds away, garbage cans or lids, birdbaths, etc.
- Keep your grass short, as mosquitoes (and ticks) like to rest in tall grass, and these areas are also more likely to collect water.
- Consider adding a bat house to the edge of your property. Some insectivorous bats can catch up to 600+ mosquitoes an hour!
- If you happen to have a decorative pond, stock it with fish like Gambusia, which eat mosquitoes and their larvae.
- If the above doesn't work- “Mosquito Dunks,” available at hardware stores, is the least-toxic material for outdoor mosquito control. They are small disks that slowly release bug killing bacteria. They may cause an allergic reaction in some people, so wear gloves when handling and a mask to prevent inhaling the dust . This product is safe for birdbaths, rain barrels, ponds, ditches, tree holes, roof gutters, unused swimming pools, but frequently repeated use in wetlands or streams is not recommended.
PROTECT YOURSELF OUT AND ABOUT:
Natural plant oils, including geranium, citronella, tea tree, catnip, marigold, lemon balm, lavender and peppermint, are all able to ward off mosquitos. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using lemon eucalyptus oil, or the chemical picaridin, which is considered just as effective as DEET on U.S. mosquitoes, and less toxic than DEET.
You can even use this Mosquito Repellent Oil Recipe to make your own.
10 drops essential oil (geranium, peppermint, or lemon balm)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine the oils in a glass jar and stir to blend. Dab lightly on your skin or clothing.
Note: Pregnant women should check with their doctor before using essential oils.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, closed shoes and socks when in areas with high mosquito (or tick) populations. If you aren't afraid to look a little silly, get added protection by tucking your pant legs into your socks, and tucking your shirt into your pants.
- Wear light colored clothing. Some evidence has suggested that mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors than light colors (light colors will also make it easier to spot any ticks that might crawl on you).
- Bugs are worst between dusk to dawn- try to keep your outdoor time during the daylight hours.
A little mosquito humor (just because mosquitoes aren't a very happy subject...):