Seven ways to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes
Summer is great - long days, warm nights (if the Dutch weather holds up that is), sunny afternoons, and exciting holidays. But, there are some aspects of summer that many people would like to never experience again, including mosquitos. Getting bitten by mosquitoes is never pleasant. It can be really itchy, can sometimes even hurt, and it’s very difficult to resist the temptation to scratch.
So, wouldn’t summer be so much better if there were ways to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes? Many solutions are obvious - insect repellent and door or window screens are great tricks to keep the mosquitoes away from you and out of your house - but are there other ways to avoid mosquitoes?
Let’s look at seven less well-known ways to prevent those pesky mosquito bites.
1. Wear light-coloured clothing
Apparently deep, dark colours, like black, deep blue, and red are more likely to attract mosquitos. The colours stand out, and so attract all kinds of bugs. But, wearing light-coloured clothing when you’re out and about could make a difference. Also, make sure to cover up! Try wearing thicker fabrics and looser fitting clothes, as it offers more protection than thin, tight-fitting clothing.
You can also buy repellant made with permethrin designed specifically for clothing or you can buy clothes pre-treated with the insecticide.
2. Stay indoors during sunrise and sunset
Sadly, mosquitoes can be flying around at any time of day. However, there are peak mosquito times. During dusk and dawn is when you’re most likely to come across the critters, so try to avoid being out during these times as much as possible.
3. Make yourself less appealing to mosquitoes
This one may sound a little funny, but there have been a number of studies to try and figure out why some people attract more mosquitoes than others. Scientists say keeping your body cool can have a big impact, as mosquitoes are attracted to pheromones released in your sweat, so staying hydrated could help. Also, while the initial instinct to cover up the scent of your sweat with scented products might seem logical, it can actually have the opposite effect and attract the bugs. Any scented perfume, lotion, or deodorant could potentially attract mosquitoes, so try to avoid them whenever possible.
Some studies have also shown that drinking beer can make you more appealing to mosquitoes, so choose your drink wisely!
4. Protect yourself with a breeze
One of the reasons mosquitoes go on the hunt at dusk and dawn is because typically the wind dies down as the sun rises and sets. Any wind makes it difficult for mosquitoes to fly, so if you pick a breezy spot when you’re next in the park or at the beach then that can help prevent getting bitten.
Alternatively, fans can also work pretty well, specifically if the flow of air is directed at the lower half of your body. Mosquitoes tend to fly very close to the ground in an attempt to avoid wind, so if the fan is facing downward it will deter them.
5. Stay away from standing water
Mosquitoes can easily breed in small containers of stagnant water, so can breed in your back garden without you even knowing it! If you have a full bucket or flower pot anywhere in or around your home, make sure to throw it out. Or, if your garden has a pond, add some mosquito-eating fish, like minnows or mosquito fish, or add a waterfall or fountain to keep the water moving.
Or, if you’re out in a park or visiting somewhere with a lot of stagnant water, try to stay as far away from it as possible.
6. Tone down the CO2
Apparently, carbon dioxide (CO2) is what attracts mosquitoes to their food source, and when you’re heart rate is elevated you produce more CO2. Exercise, drinking alcohol, eating spicy food - all of these can all elevate your heart rate!
Instead, try to avoid anything that you know will speed up your metabolic rate and increase CO2 production. Or, if you’re going out and know your heart rate will rise, make sure to wear protective clothing or use insect repellent.
7. Mosquito repellent plants
If your garden has become a bit of a mosquito hot-bed, it might be worth considering planting plants that repel mosquitoes. While it may not be very effective on its own, the plants could help discourage mosquitoes from hanging around your home.
Planting a lot of plants such as citronella, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, and basil could have a real impact on your garden. Similarly, spreading coffee grounds and tea waste around your garden could limit the reproduction of mosquitoes in the area.
Do you have any handy tips to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes? Share them in the comments below!