While the family and I were outside enjoying the brief flash of sunshine yesterday, we discovered that we weren’t the only ones to emerge from the shadows and into the sun. We were joined by the first of this year’s bug buddies – the mosquitos.
If you’ve ever wondered why some people get eaten alive while others are left alone, I have the answer for you – SMELL. The little-winged bloodsuckers have sensory organs that zero in on sources of carbon dioxide and lactic acid – which lead to warm-blooded mammals like you & me. Mosquito repellents work because they mask the smell of Carbon dioxide – not because the mosquitoes are repelled by the smell.
But why do mosquitoes love my blood?
I expect you have noticed that mosquitoes appear to be more attracted to some people than others. I am unfortunate enough to be one of those mosquito magnets and have kindly passed this trait onto some of the kids. While James gets the odd bite Joshua comes in from the outdoors looking like someone has used him for target practice – with poisoned darts!!
This selective attraction is because each of us have our own distinctive smell, sort of like a fingerprint of smell. Among the compounds that make up our own personal smell, there are about 30 that seem to have a masking effect. If you are lucky enough to have one or more of these feature prominently in your ‘fingerprint’ the mozzies won’t bother you. Other compounds act as attractants making the lucky people with those not just more attractive but real mosquito magnets.
Unfortunately, genetics account for about 85% of our attractiveness to mosquitoes so if you’re born beautiful to them; there’s little you can do except mask your smell.
What can I do when Mosquitoes love me?
Some people suggest eating garlic as a way to mask yourself from mosquitoes. This will work, the garlic will mask your ‘tasty’ smell from the little biters, but it will probably also repel everyone in a thousand yard radius. So you’ll be mozzie free but also friend free!
There are foods that increase the amount of lactic acid that you ‘off gas’ – resulting in the mosquitoes finding you tastier. So to avoid this, you can reduce your consumption of salty foods or those that are high in potassium.
Another thing you can do is sweat less. When you exert yourself you give off both carbon dioxide and lactic acid so use this as an excuse to put your feet up and if anyone asks you to do something just reply “I’d love to, but if I break a sweat the mosquitoes will descend and you don’t want me to catch West Nile, do you?”
Other ways to avoid becoming a blood bank
- The easiest way is to stay inside during peek mozzie hours – early morning & dusk. The first is no problem for me but the second? That’s when the fun begins so this is effective but not always practical.
- Wear light-colored, loose, long sleeved tops and full leg pants. One of the easiest way to stop the bites is to simply cover your skin. You can also spray your clothes with bug repellents – see below for suggestions.(Remember: don’t use permethrin on skin.)
- Sleep with a mosquito net over your bed. Make sure you sleep without touching the sides as mosquitoes can actually bite you through the netting if it’s tight against your skin. Check for holes regularly and patch them with duct tape for a quick fix.
- Avoid standing water.Most species of mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so they are found more densely around lakes, stagnant creeks, bogs, marshes especially during hot months.
- Don’t let water stand near your home or campsite -It’s easy to unintentionally create habitats for mosquitoes to live and breed in. For instance, a kiddy pool left out in the summer sun for several days can soon become a hotbed for mosquitoes. Get rid of any standing water around your home or campsite. If you have a pool, cover it when it’s not in use and treat the water with chemical additives like chlorine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Other places that water can quickly accumulate & become mozzie nurseries are: Pools, Discarded tires or industrial containers, ditches or trenches, Natural low points on a piece of property, Clogged storm drains and children’s toys.
There are, of course, times when these strategies are not enough, and there are swarms of the flying bloodsuckers you can’t avoid. On these occasions you need to break out the bug repellents and here are a few suggestions:
Kills fast, PLUS keeps killing bugs landing on treated surfaces up to 4 weeks. Water-Based Formula is non-staining and leaves no oily residue. Use Indoors and Outdoors.
To enjoy your backyard this summer, create a bite-free zone with Cutter brand Bug Control Spray. Kills mosquitoes and many other annoying insects and controls for up to 8 weeks.The 32 fl. oz concentrate treats up to 5,000 square feet. Easy to use, just connect to your hose and spray. This product controls the following insects: LAWNS: THATCH-INFESTING INSECTS/UNDERGROUND INSECTS including blue grass billbug (adult), black turfgrass Ataenius (adult), chiggers, chinch bugs, white grubs (Japanese beetle, European chafer, southern chafer), dung beetle and hyperodes weevils (adult), mole crickets (nymphs and young adults). SURFACE INSECTS including ants*, armyworms, cockroaches, crickets, cutworms, earwigs, fleas, lawn moths (sod webworms), millipedes, mosquitoes, palmetto bugs, sowbugs, mites, spittlebugs, deer ticks (which may transmit Lyme Disease), waterbugs. PESTS OUTSIDE THE HOME: ants*, centipedes, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, millipedes, mosquitoes, palmetto bugs, scorpions, sowbugs, pillbugs, spiders, deer ticks, waterbugs. ORNAMENTAL TREES AND SHRUBS: ants*, armyworms, azalea caterpillar, aphids, bagworms, black vine weevil (adult), boxelder bugs, budworms, California oakworm, cankerworms, cockroaches, crickets, cutworms, Eastern tent caterpillar, elm leaf beetles, European sawfly, fall webworm, flea beetles, forest tent caterpillar, gypsy moth larvae, Japanese beetles (adults), June beetles (adults), lace bugs, leaf-feeding caterpillars, leafhoppers, leafminers (adults), leafrollers, leaf skeletonizers, midges, oleander moth larvae, pillbug, pine sawfly, pine shoot beetles, pine tip moths, plant bugs, root weevil, sawfly, scale insects (crawlers), spiders, spittlebugs, striped beetles, striped oakworm, thrips, tip moth, tussock moth larvae, broad mites, brown soft scale, California red scale (crawler), clover mites, mealybugs, pine needle scale (crawler), spider mites, whiteflies.
Off! Clip-On Starter repellent provides personal protection from mosquitoes. If you move, allow a few minutes for the unit to rebuild its protection. Protects against mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus. Unlike ordinary personal repellents, OFF! Clip-On repellent provides mosquito protection without putting anything on your skin.
Mosquito Dunks 6 per card is a larvaecide that kills mosquito larvae only. It is deemed organic by the USEPA. Dunks are harmless to beneficial insects, pets, birds, fish or wildlife.Kills within hours and lasts for up to 30 days.Each Dunk covers 100 square feet of surface area. Perfect for Koi ponds, hydroponic systems, animal water troughs, bird baths, rain barrels.Place Dunks wherever there is standing water or standing water will accumulate
Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks are an all natural plant-based insect repellent, containing three different repellent essential oils: citronella, lemongrass & Rosemary. Our essential oils are blended with bamboo sawdust to create the incense sticks. Our essential oils come from the UK and our incense sticks are uniquely made in a woman-owned factory in China. Our high concentration of essential oils (10% by weight) far exceeds the content of leading brands on the market. Three different repellent oils plus a high concentration of these oils, makes Murphy’s a very effective natural repellent. The combined fragrance is Amazing. Usage Tip: place a Murphy’s Mosquito Stick close to your location, then to expand your area of coverage, place a few incense sticks in a perimeter around your deck or patio, spacing them 12 feet apart. For every tube of product sold, a donation will be made to select goodwill organizations to Do Others Good around the globe. M+DOG = Murphy, Doing Others Good. Always Natural. Always Effective. Always Doing Others Good.
Repellent Towelette repels mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, mites, black flies, sand flies and deerflies. With the 30 percent active DEET formula, this convenient sheet is highly effective against West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, human dranulocyctis etc.. Individually wrapped in easy-to-carry foil pack with towelette pouch.
A little planning can go a long way toward staying mosquito-bite-free in the backwoods and on the water. Simply apply Rebel Permethrin Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent aerosol on all your equipment before you’re planning to be outdoors, and you’ll enjoy mosquito and tick protection that repels and kills biting insects for up to two weeks.
The odorless spray actually binds to the fabric on garments, boots, backpacks, tents, nets, and other outdoor gear, ensuring residual protection that lasts through several machine washings and multiple outdoor excursions.
Safe and Effective
Permethrin, the active ingredient in Repel Permethrin Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent aerosol, is a synthetic pyrethroid that works by disrupting the normal functioning of the nervous system of mosquitoes and ticks. It’s a contact insecticide that kills all biting insects that come in contact with treated fabric fibers.
Permethrin-based repellents are safe for use with any type of fabric or material–even delicate garments. The insecticide binds very strongly to the fibers of the fabrics you treat, but will not absorb into the skin. The aerosol is designed for clothing application, however. Do not spray products containing permethrin directly onto your skin.
Keep ants and other unwanted insects out of your house with TERRO Outdoor Ant Killer with Multi-Purpose Insect Control. Use this product as a perimeter treatment around the foundation of your house to keep ants, cockroaches, fleas and other insects from entering your home. The powerful ant killer granules kill pests on contact and provide long-lasting residual repellency. TERRO Outdoor Ant Killer is packaged in a convenient, re-sealable Shaker Bag which allows the granules to be easily distributed around the perimeter of your house, without handling the product. Just open the top, grab the handle at the bottom of the bag, and start spreading the ant killer granules. No chemical spreader or broadcaster is needed. This product is ideal as part of a two-step ant control process. Use TERRO Outdoor Ant Killer in conjunction with TERRO Liquid Ant Baits indoors to eliminate ants inside and prevent outdoor ants from re-infesting.
Environmentally friendly with solar power. No electricity or wiring needed. Switch between light and bug zapper. Metal safely frill and internal translucent finger shield.
Feature: You can hang it indoors, on hallway, or insert on outdoor lawn, adding stylish element in your house with its retro lantern design. The UV LED Solar Bug Zapper is an easy to install, green solution for lighting and reclaiming your yard from pest insects. With no wiring or harmful chemicals required and by using energy from the sun, you will save time, money and the environment!