There are just some pests that we would all prefer stay away from us. Mosquitoes are one of those. To keep you and your family safe there are three distinct things you can do to keep them away.
Eliminate Breeding Sites
Mosquitoes breed in standing water that you will often find in urban and rural areas. Clean these areas and replace as often as possible. When that is not possible avoid them.
Gutters – make sure they are unclogged and therefore draining correctly
Pet bowls – replace with fresh water daily
Birdbaths – check regularly to see that water is not becoming stagnant and more susceptible to mosquitoes.
Pools – insure your pool water is circulated regularly.
Any container with standing water
Avoid Being a Mosquito Attractant
Spend anytime outside with groups of people and it is apparent that some people attract mosquitoes more so than others. The reasoning ranges from deodorant choices to body odor. Lets take a look at the science rather than the myths.
Scent – this is the #1 reason certain people attract them more so than others but not for the reasons you might think. We can further breakdown scent into several areas as well:
Bacteria – this one is true. They are attracted to the bacteria that is present in body odor. All of us have it, it cannot be avoided. If you can keep the body odor to a minimum you will be better off.
Lactic Acid – this occurs in certain foods as well as in human when we engage in physical activity. If you can workout inside, do so. When you choose to be outside (like I do) do what you can to clean yourself off if you plan to stay outside.
Carbon dioxide and octenol – there is plenty of carbon dioxide out there coming off of plants. Add in another gas that we exhale, octenol, and you have a calling card for the little buggers. You can avoid breathing, just be aware of doing so in groups and again, when exercising..
Body heat – mosquitoes love it. Avoid it by cooling off whenever possible and avoiding alcohol consumption while outside. Drinking alcohol raises your body temp and therefore encourages mosquitoes to come party with you.
Moisture – if you exercise outside change shirts and towel off whenever possible.
Color – because mosquitoes like dark, damp places, they are also attracted to darker clothes as well. wear lighter color clothing when possible.
Keep them off your body
The best way to keep them off of you is to never go outside for any reason. As we say here in Kentucky, “That ain’t happening”. While we can certainly avoid them with the strategies detailed above, we will still have them on or near us at times. Here are some more helpful hints.
Clothing choices – wear long sleeves and long pants when you can. This will serve to keep them off your skin when they land on you and will give you more time to see them and swat them away before they “bite” you.
Repellents – DEET, picaridin, and permethrin are the most common. We have the best success with permethrin and it also has the added benefit of being the best chemical we can find to ward off ticks as well. CAUTION must be observed when using it. DO NOT get it on your skin. I use it on my clothes and outdoor gear to ward them off. I use DEET and picaridin on my skin when I know I cannot avoid being in mosquito infested areas. I also liberally spray my hat with both since I (like you) sweat alot through my head. Just please bear in mind that these are toxic chemicals even for you. So use them only sparingly on your skin when you have to. Whenever possible spray them on your gear and clothing when you can. As always, follow the individual manufacturers recommendations on how to use them.
As I said, not going outside is NOT an option. There is too much fun and enjoyment to be had. Our fall registration is now wide open and filling up so consider joining us when all these pesky insects are not a problem anyway. We would love to have you in class to teach you more and better strategies to see more, and enjoy more of the great outdoors!
Craig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in teaching outdoor related topics to include, survival, tracking, nature awareness and gun safety for private and public groups, and government agencies. Craig’s first book is Extreme Wilderness Survival from Page Street Publishing, distributed by Macmillan Publishing
Craig is a also frequent contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on his YouTube channel. Pick up the book, subscribe to him on youtube, or join Craig in a class so he can help you be more safe and aware in the outdoors.