How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
This may come as a surprise, but you have more reason to be afraid of a mosquito than a shark or any other animal. Mosquitoes can carry more diseases and can kill more people than any other species on earth. Understanding what mosquitoes need to survive and some of their techniques for finding blood will enable you to better protect yourself from the itchy – and potentially dangerous – mosquito bites.
There are 3,500 known species of mosquitoes. Roughly 200 species bite humans. They can be found on every continent and can survive in almost any habitat. They are pests to mammals all over the world, and there are some species that only bite birds. Even reptiles and amphibians do not escape the bite of a mosquito. However, humans are not the main source of food for a mosquito.
A surprising fact about how mosquitoes feed is that their feeding habits are almost identical to butterflies. You may wonder how that can be true. It may seem like mosquitoes feed primarily on you, but they actually get their energy from nectar and fruit juices. They sip the nectar from flowers and fruits through a proboscis – just like the butterfly.
It is the female mosquito that requires blood, but only for reproduction. Male mosquitoes do not require blood. The female’s eggs need protein and iron to develop, which is why she has such an innate ability to detect the carbon dioxide that humans exhale. In fact, she can detect carbon dioxide from about 75 feet away and will fly through it to land on her target.
But to fully complete their life cycle, mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay eggs and develop into mature mosquitoes. This is a crucial point. It is a significant characteristic of mosquitoes that humans can take advantage of to greatly reduce mosquito populations around their homes and neighborhoods.
So naturally, the first step in protecting yourself from mosquito bites is to remove sources of standing water from your yard.
- Start after a rainstorm. You’ll need to ensure there are no toys, tires, gutters, tree holes, or anything else,full of water sitting around. If you leave these items unemptied, it won’t be long before they’re full of mosquito larvae. Encourage neighbors to do the same.
- When needed, work with local governments to clean up public areas. Besides large areas of stagnant water that may need to be drained, trash and leaves piled up will hold pockets of water just the right size for a mosquito to lay eggs.
- Dawn and dusk are when mosquitoes are the most abundant. During this time, avoid leaving doors and windows open, and as much as possible, stay inside.
- When you spend time outdoors, at any time of the day, try to avoid dark shady spots. Mosquitoes prefer dark moist areas. You are less likely to be bitten in brighter sunny areas.
- Wear long sleeve tops and loose pants, and make sure your feet are covered. Wearing light colored clothing will make you less attractive as well.
- Spray the screens on your doors and windows with a repellent. This will help to kill them off before they enter your home.
- There are various kinds of outdoor candles that give off smoke with a scent. These can be helpful even if you do not plan on spending time outdoors. The smoke and smell will deter them from coming in to your yard.
- Keeping a couple of oscillating fans in your back yard or deck is helpful. It keeps the carbon dioxide you exhale moving and prevents it from guiding the mosquito to you. Additionally, mosquitoes are not strong flyers, and they will not be able fly around in the force of the wind.
- Limit use of perfumes and scents that attract mosquitoes, such as floral and fruity fragrances.
- A warm, sweaty, panting person in an area where there is not much air flow is an ideal target for a mosquito. If you have just finished a workout, then move out to an open breezy place to cool down.
- Always plan in advance. Close windows and doors well before dusk, especially in the bedroom. Apply mosquito repellent well before mosquito time. Sometimes it is good to use more than one kind of repellent. This will help cover multiple types of mosquitoes.