With spring just around the corner, something more dreadful than April’s showers awaits. A light buzzing sound, a small black speck, and an irritating itching sensation. Mosquito season is quickly approaching, and with it comes not just the nuisance of endlessly scratching, but potentially life-threatening diseases. Mosquitoes carry a multitude of virulent infections, including malaria and West Nile virus. Recently, Dengue Fever from South American countries to the southern part of the United States. The Zika virus is also proving to be a virus spread by mosquitoes that can cause serious harm to pregnant women’s infants.
Fortunately, there are many preventative measures you can take to combat the tiny terrors. Some help you nip the problem in the bud, some help you curb their appetite, and some help you get the upper hand in the battle for your blood.
Tell Standing Water to Take a Hike
One of the first and easiest methods to reduce the amount of mosquitoes is to reduce the amount of stagnant water in the area. The largest concentration of mosquitoes live in arctic areas like Alaska, where melting ice other pools of water become the perfect breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of the insects.
If you live in a region that has a lot of stagnant water, there is not much you can do to prevent them from breeding. However, the same can not be said of your home, especially if you live in a urban area. Remove as much standing water that you can around your house, and be sure to maintain any water sources that remain. Something as innocuous as a fountain or pool, if left unattended, can become a habitat for mosquito larvae, so be sure to properly clean it and keep it running during the summer. If mosquito larvae are present in these waters, using a Bti product can eliminate them.
Sweat Before Liquor, Never Bit Quicker
Now that you’ve found out how to deal with unwanted guests, the next best option is to make sure you don’t attract any more customers. There are several things you might do that signal to mosquitoes it’s dinner time.
First off, mosquitoes respond greatly to smell, and this applies to both ends of the spectrum. Wearing scented deodorant or perfumes can attract the little guys, but overall, the smell of sweat and other body odors attract them far more, so be sure if you’re going outside at night to wash off first.
A second way you can prevent mosquitoes venturing into your house is to wash your hamper as soon as possible. Mosquitoes actually respond to the smell of feet and dirty socks, due to the bacteria that emit that odor. The longer socks are worn or left unclean, the more appealing they become to the pests.
Third is to make sure to keep cool. Mosquitoes can sense the heat emitted from your body and know there is a meal behind it. The hotter you become, the more likely to sweat, which will only draw them in more. Keeping a fan close by can fill two bugs with one stone, as mosquitoes also don’t like fast air currents.
The final method of decreasing your chances of of drawing in mosquitoes is to stay off the beer and strong cheeses. The presence of alcohol increases your chances of being bit significantly. And many cheeses use bacteria similar to the ones that cause body odor. If it smells like feet, it’ll attract mosquitoes like feet.
Bug Be Gone
So you’ve cleaned out the swimming pool, and everyone is clean and cheese free. But the mosquitoes just keep coming! Now that it has come to that, there are many products you can purchase to drive away the minute menaces.
One of the simplest purchases that can keep mosquitoes out of your hair is fence them off. Buying a bug net can keep the pests out, particularly for those with an outdoor patio. Making sure the mesh screens in your windows aren’t damaged, to further keep the number in your home to a minimum.
There are also cheap organic solutions to repelling mosquitoes. Growing herbs such as rosemary and sage can keep mosquitoes away. If you can’t grow them, simply add them to the coals during your next barbecue or wood at a bonfire. Eating garlic is also a natural alternative to wearing bug spray or using bug repellents, along with wearing garlic water or hanging garlic soaked cloth or paper towel.
If you’re against the idea of smelling like garlic, there are also the commercially sold bug repellents. The most effective of these chemical cocktails are those that contain DEET, which is so odorous to bugs as to make them hate being around you. While DEET is linked to several medical issues, such as rashes, it outweighs the possibility of contracting deadly diseases.
Genetically Engineered Super Suckers
While you’re doing all that you can to just survive the season, scientists are looking at a radical new way to put mosquitoes out of commission for good. As recently as this year, the discoveries of genetic engineering have become the herald of a world with almost no mosquitoes. GMO mosquitoes, specifically the males of Aedes aegypti, have had their genes altered. When these males mate with wild female mosquitoes, the resulting offspring die before they can reach adulthood.
This method of mosquito treatment has already been utilized in South America with an incredible success rate, and plans are in motion to release these sleeper agent mosquitoes into North America and Britain as well. Soon, dreading an itchy summer will be a distant memory, and we can all enjoy a relaxing summer.