How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes: Expert Tips to Avoid Bites

Knowing how to get rid of mosquitoes is crucial. Some types are capable of spreading serious disease, and while the majority are just a nuisance, itchy bites are never welcome.

In the yard, mosquito repellent plants can help create an unwelcoming environment for these bloodsuckers, and there are a host of other measures you can take outside and inside your home to prevent them. remove.

We’ve rounded up the best tactics for getting rid of mosquitoes here and also asked the experts to share their expertise.

How to get rid of mosquitoes

There are more than 200 types of mosquitoes in the continental United States and in US territories, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Of these, about 12 types spread germs that can cause illnesses such as malaria, West Nile virus, dengue and Zika, it says.

Knowing how to get rid of mosquitoes is critical because you won’t know which type is biting you, as the CDC points out, and because the bites are nasty even if they’re just a parasite rather than a vector of disease. , and this is the bottom.

1. Eliminate standing water

Standing water is where mosquitoes lay their eggs, so to get rid of mosquitoes, remove it as much as possible.

“If you want to avoid bites, you should seek to stop mosquitoes before they become adults by removing these water sources whenever possible,” says Timothy Best, technical director of Terminix, a board-certified entomologist.

“Homeowners should inspect their property for any areas where water can collect and become stagnant. These areas could include saucers under potted plants, birdbaths, children’s play equipment, clogged gutters; the list of possible reservoirs is probably endless.

“While some species may require more water than others, say an outdated and neglected swimming pool, some species like the Asian Tiger Mosquito only need the equivalent of a water bottle cap to sustain their development.

Keep in mind that this is not a one-time job and should be tackled after it rains. “While lifespan may vary by species, under ideal conditions (summer) a mosquito can develop from egg to adult in around seven to ten days. So the longer the water stays standing, the more likely homeowners and their properties are to encourage mosquito development,” says Timothy.

2. Consider treating water you can’t drain

You may not be able to get rid of standing water, and in that case you can try using a product containing Bacillus thuringiensis (BTI) such as Mosquito Dunks from Amazon. They can be added to water and kill mosquito larvae, but are not toxic to children, pets, fish and other wildlife.

“You can also place one of the donuts on a stake set in the ground where water sometimes lingers,” suggests gardening expert and author Melinda Myers. “He’s there when needed.”

3. Keep the yard clean

Regular yard work can help get rid of mosquitoes. “Prunen the vegetation,” advises Dr. Nancy Troyano, a board-certified entomologist at Ehrlich Pest Control. “During the heat of the day, mosquitoes spend their time resting on low vegetation to avoid drying out.”

There are a few other tasks you need to master. “Keeping grass trimmed, removing overgrowth, filling in hollow trees or stumps, and removing dead leaves can help reduce adult habitat,” says Timothy Best.

Also consider where you place the items in the garden. “Keep play equipment and patio furniture away from areas of dense foliage. Mosquitoes like to hide in these areas, and being near them will make it easier for them to bite you,” says Dr Troyano.

4. Repel mosquitoes

Since you can’t get rid of all mosquitoes, your goal should also be to keep them away from you so they can’t bite you. Look for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered repellents, which contain one of the active ingredients DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD ) or 2-undecanone.

“Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellent because you have to apply the sunscreen more often than the repellent,” recommends Melinda Myers.

Also dress to keep mosquitoes away. “One thing that usually works is a long-sleeved shirt and long pants,” says Dr. David Claborn, an entomologist and director of Missouri State University’s master’s in public health program. “Clothing can also be treated with permethrin, which irritates mosquitoes that land there, causing them to leave without biting.”

Also consider the time of day. “Avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito times — near dusk and dawn,” says Dr. Troyano.

5. Use fans to get rid of mosquitoes

Fans can help keep mosquitoes away from a porch or patio. “One or two inexpensive boxes or strategically placed oscillating fans can help reduce mosquitoes significantly in localized areas,” says Dr. Nancy Troyano. “It will deter mosquitoes because they fly very badly.”

6. Seal doors and windows

It is important to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. “Well-fitting mosquito nets are the best solution for keeping mosquitoes away from the house,” says Dr. Claborn.

‘Keep in mind that they are also strongly attracted to lights. In a rural house, a single light will attract them a few kilometers away.

What about mosquito traps?

Mosquito traps are controversial, according to Dr. Claborn. “For many commercial traps, the attractants they use, such as carbon dioxide or proprietary attractants, actually attract more mosquitoes than the traps actually kill.

“Mosquitoes can be attracted to an area by the attractant and then reorient themselves towards a human once that human becomes detectable by the mosquito. Some of the traps catch large numbers of mosquitoes, but that doesn’t mean they reduce the number of bites.

Do bug zappers kill mosquitoes?

Bug zappers kill mosquitoes, but they also kill beneficial insects, and what’s more, studies have shown that they make no difference.

“The only two controlled studies conducted to date by independent researchers at the University of Notre Dame have shown that mosquitoes accounted for only 4.1% and 6.4% of daily catches, respectively, over an entire season,” says AMCA (American Mosquito Control Association). .

“Even more important was the finding in both studies that there was no significant difference in the number of mosquitoes found in yards with or without bug zappers.”

What smells do mosquitoes hate?

Mosquitoes are known to dislike various smells. “Citronella candles are a widely used and popular item for good reason – they have repellent properties and they definitely smell great,” says Dr. Troyano. “Using them can keep some mosquitoes away from a hyper-localized area, depending on what product you use and where you place it. However, using a citronella candle will not protect you from a mosquito bite. They should be used in combination with an applied repellent.

Be aware of the limitations. “Generally, the ‘natural’ repellents that work are less effective and last longer than products containing DEET,” says Dr. Claborn. “Some of them have had a certain effect. For example, a recent study showed that eucalyptus and clove essential oils are just over half as effective at keeping mosquitoes from landing on bare skin as DEET.

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