Summer should be a time to enjoy the outdoors. There is one problem: humans are not the only species to take advantage of the heat of the season. From backyard barbecues and hikes in the woods, to freshwater fishing and camping trips, hitchhiking mosquitoes like to tag along for all the fun.
Some of the best backyards are also some of the worst feeding and breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Though it is nearly impossible to steer clear of all mosquito bites in the summer months, there are methods to at least make spaces less desirable for insects.
Just like we prefer to alleviate the effects of bites and stings naturally at Bug Bite Thing, we aim to fend off bugs in the same manner. Some pesticides are not only harmful to people, animals and beneficial insects like bees, but they also can prove to be less effective over time as mosquitoes build resistance to them. In an effort to lead to more summertime enjoyment, we have developed a list of eight nontoxic ways to prevent mosquitoes at home and beyond.
Eight Tips to Protect Your Environment From Mosquitoes
Remove standing water.
It may seem simple, but removing any stagnant water is one of the best things you can do to decrease the amount of mosquitoes around your home. Mosquitoes thrive on shallow water sources less than 1 foot deep, so pay close attention to kiddie pools, water tables and birdbaths. Other not-so-obvious sources include containers that may fill up after rainfall such as flower pots, buckets, clogged rain gutters and tree holes. If your yard is prone to puddles that last for days, you may wish to consult a professional landscaper to re-grade the land or install a French drain.
- Cut back unnecessary vegetation.
Mosquitoes can survive almost anywhere, but they prefer to call tropical environments, lush forests, swamps and areas with tall grasses and weeds their home. To create a less appealing habitat for insects, trim shrubs and trees, which will improve air circulation.
Incorporate mosquito-repelling plants into your yard.
Many gardeners know this trick well, as certain plants repel other plant-attacking aphids, in addition to mosquitoes. Citronella, geranium, catnip and marigolds have visual appeal, as well as the power to ward off insects. Fragrant herbs like garlic, basil, lavender and peppermint are tasty additions to the backyard or patio (and the kitchen), and these scents that entice humans often deter pests. To step barbecue pest control up a notch, add a few sprigs of rosemary or sage to the grill. Mosquitoes don’t care for the smell of Thai lemongrass and lemon balm, which can be crushed and rubbed on the skin as a natural bug repellent.
Utilize yellow light.
To add a moody glow to open-air evenings while keeping mosquitoes at bay, replace traditionally white outdoor lighting with yellow bulbs. Yellow lights do not necessarily repel mosquitoes, but they do help create an environment that is less inviting to insects than their brighter counterparts. This tip does not only apply to housing; be sure to bring along yellow lights when camping or stargazing.
There is conflicting information on the Internet regarding mosquitoes’ color preference, but when it comes to insects, we don’t play around! To err on the side of caution, opt for lighter colors for your outdoor wardrobe. Though mosquitoes may not actually favor darker colors, they are attracted to the heat retained by them. Lighter colors are more likely to reflect heat, which makes them less appealing. Long-sleeved clothing with built-in UV protection has an added bonus, as its tightly woven fabric keeps skin covered. Don’t dismiss pants and socks, even in hot weather, since these little ankle-biters also like stinky feet.
Bring in the breeze.
Have you noticed mosquitoes are less bothersome on a windy day? Fans offer a chemical-free alternative to bug repellent. In addition to the windstorm making it more difficult for mosquitoes to land on their prey, a fan can also broadly circulate exhaled carbon dioxide, which often attracts mosquitoes. Keeping everyone cool helps too, since mosquitoes are sweet on sweat.
Beware of additional fragrances.
Partygoers, campers and hikers may want to rethink their choice of shampoos, soaps and body lotions, as many perfumes and fragrances attract insects. Hair and skincare products that contain neem oil can be a good alternative, as the natural scent is known to chase away mosquitoes. Be mindful of nontoxic bug repellents because some are known to unintentionally attract mosquitoes. Other odors from food and sweat are also especially yummy to bugs, so add more layers of protection if you will be dining or hanging out in the heat.
Consider mosquito-repelling technology.
There are many gadgets out there that claim to fend off mosquitoes, though not all are entirely safe or effective. While not exactly “all natural,” the Thermacell brand offers a scent-free, spray-free and otherwise nontoxic technology to drive away mosquitoes. By using a heat-activated repellent mat, it creates a protective zone during hangouts.
There are some factors that cannot be helped. It turns out blood type plays a role in attraction. Plus, the human body gives off hundreds of chemicals and odors, some of which appeal to mosquitoes. If all else fails and you or a loved one can’t get away from becoming mosquito bait, Bug Bite Thing is here for post-bite itch relief.