Unless you live in the Antarctic, you are going to deal with mosquitos during the more temperate months of the year.
Mosquitos are a blood sucking pest that can transmit deadly diseases to mammals.
With very few exceptions there is no known use for these small midge like flies, other than driving people crazy and spreading disease that is.
This has led some experts to refer to them as the most dangerous animal on earth.
Female mosquitos feed on blood in order to sustain their life and produce eggs. (some species can produce their first clutch of eggs without a blood meal, but require it for any further egg production) Males do not feed on vertebrates, deriving their substance from plants instead. In order to find her blood meal female mosquitos are equipped with antenna that can detect organic substances, particularly those found in Co2 emissions.
The antenna contains 72 odor receptors, which means female mosquitos are quite adept at sniffing out a meal! Mosquitoes also prefer some humans over others which is due to the combination of octenol, carbon dioxide and other components of body odor (this is why some people are more bothered by the pests than others)
Once she has discovered her prey the female mosquito lands and begins to probe the area, seeking the best location for accessing blood capillaries under the skin. When she locates the sweet spot, she injects a bit of saliva into the host which acts as an anticoagulant, and is also the primary mode of disease transmission.
There are several methods you can use to reduce the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes. These include but are not limited to:
- Reduce Breeding- standing water is the perfect mosquito nursery, eliminate as many sources of stagnate water as possible.
- Predators – introduce natural predators to the area – some people import dragon fly’s
- Keep them Out- mosquito netting and screens can keep the little pests out of your home
- Personal Repellant- there are a variety of commercially developed repellants- buy and use them!
- Traps/ Repellants – if you like to spend a lot of time in the yard during the warm months you may want to consider repellants and or mosquito traps
Home Remedy and Practical Tips
If you are not keen on citronella candles and spray on repellants there are a few practical ways to cut down on mosquito bites and home remedies. One of the simplest tips is to cover your body as much as possible with light colored clothing and wear a hat. Mosquitoes can get through the fabric, but you will reduce the number of bites.
Burning Citronella is a Very Effective Repellent – Pic by Lachlan H on Flickr
Experts may not agree on whether or not home remedies are as effective as commercial products, but if you happen to be out of repellant or just do not want to spray chemicals around your home there are a few options.
- Essential Oils- lavender, citronella, tea tree, eucalyptus and several other essential oils have proven effective at repelling mosquitoes. Simply mix with baby oil, olive oil, witch hazel or alcohol and apply to body and clothing.
- Plants- if you want to naturally control these pests in your yard consider planting some repellant plants such as lemon thyme, basil, catnip or pennyroyal, just to name a few.
- Sprays- garlic power and water or Listerine and water are effective spray solutions for temporary yard and campsite repellants.
Frogs, Bats, Spiders, Lizards and Geckos are fantastic natural predators – But there’s only so many of these you can live harmoniously with.