There’s nothing quite as annoying as the whine of a mosquito next to your ear, and the knowledge that in a few minutes you’ll have a fresh bug bite where your skin is exposed. Mosquitoes plague areas with high humidity, and in many parts of the world they’re responsible for spreading disease. Whether you’re determined to stay bite-free on your next camping trip or you want to keep the mosquito population down in your yard, this article has a method that can help. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of mosquitoes and keep them from coming back.
- Slap them with a swatter. A mosquito swatter, usually made of a thicker metal or plastic than a regular fly swatter, is mounted on the end of a springy wire. This dramatically increases your chances of hitting a stationary mosquito by increasing the momentum of the swat.
Any item that will make your arm longer, and therefore your swing faster, will suffice if you don’t have a swatter. Try a rolled up magazine or newspaper.
No swatter handy? Kill the flying mosquito with a double-handed clap. Using two hands is more effective than one, as the air coming from each hand will blow the mosquito into the opposing palm.
- Wear chemical mosquito repellent. Keeping mosquitoes away from your body is the best way to avoid getting bitten. Use insect repellent on uncovered skin surfaces and on your clothing when you’re outdoors, especially during the day. When using sunscreen, apply it before insect repellent.
Repellents containing 30% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are the most popular type of repellents, and are recommended for adults and children over 2 months of age and are effective for several hours. Repellents with lower amounts of DEET offer shorter-term protection and must be applied more often.
Repellents containing up to 15% picaridin, which must be applied often, are available in the US. Picaridin is odorless, has a pleasant feel, and doesn’t plasticize like DEET. Studies have shown it to be as fully repellent to mosquitoes as DEET and can also be applied on infants as young as 2 months.
Protect infants less than 2 months of age by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit rather using a repellent.
- Use an oil-based repellent. The safety of using chemical deterrents manufactured by combining synthetic chemicals in the laboratory has been questioned, and there are many natural solutions you can use instead. Citronella oil, cinnamon oil and castor oil are reputed to keep mosquitoes away. Most natural repellents require more frequent application or use than the chemical versions.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is sold as a product called Repel®. Repel is a 40% formulation of naturally-derived eucalyptus and has a pleasant scent and feel without any plasticizing properties. It is also effective at repelling ticks.
Tea tree oil may be another useful natural repellent. Look for commercial repellents that include it.
Try Skin Armour Deep Woods Outdoor soap. A combined effort from the researchers in Australia and China who have worked extensively over the last decade to find a competent mosquito protection product resulted in this product. It’s is a completely natural product made from a group of powerful natural oils and may help to you keep yours safe from the attack of mosquitoes while you’re working or camping outdoors.
- Wear loose, full coverage clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help to protect you from mosquitoes when you’re outdoors. Covering your skin is a key approach to repelling mosquitoes.
Clothing may also be sprayed with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent for greater protection. Do not use permethrin directly on your skin.
Avoid wearing heavy, dark clothing in warm weather. Mosquitoes are attracted to warm bodies, so staying cool is an effective way to avoid bites. They also appear to like black, blue and red the most.
Don’t wear scent when outdoors during mosquito season. Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat, but the act of sweating can mask more effective attractors of mosquitoes, such as perfumes.
- Use mosquito nets to protect yourself at night. If you’re sleeping in a mosquito-infested area, get a mosquito net to drape around the bed or mat so that it touches the floor on all sides. This is the only really effective way to prevent them from getting inside to bite you, especially if there are open windows or doors in the vicinity.
Check the net for holes regularly; even overly long toenails can tear a hole in them during sleep.
Make sure you are not touching the net anywhere while you sleep.
Kennels and other pet refuges should also be covered with mosquito nets when you are experiencing a mosquito infestation.
- Insect-proof your home. Check your screens and repair any that have holes or tears in them that would let mosquitoes fly in. Silicon caulk or screen patches work well. Use weather stripping to seal door gaps, especially under the doors. There’s no sure way to prevent mosquitoes from coming in, but taking these measures can really help.
- Stay indoors when mosquitoes prefer to be outside. They tend to come out at dusk, dawn and in the dark, so if you can, stay safely inside during these times. When you do go out during times when mosquitoes are most active, wear more layers to protect your exposed skin.