Mosquito bites are the bane of my summer experience. Last 4th of July I went to a Disney golf course to watch the fireworks. It was wonderful until I got home and counted 42 mosquito bites – from my legs all the way up to my arms and my back.
I spent the next couple of weeks spotting calamine lotion on those spots, everyday finding a new one.
Unfortunately, because I have no self-control, I scratched those mosquito bites every day resulting in red spots on my legs that lasted for weeks; there’s only so much calamine lotion can do! Wearing shorts is not so fun when you feel like you’re walking around with chicken pocks!
While I didn’t prepare myself for 4th of July last year, I will this year. I suggest you heed my advice, and so does the Florida Department of Health! They keep a weekly, publically published tracker for mosquito -related illnesses that may be present in Florida.
With that said, your greatest defer for mosquito bites is protection; arm yourself.
Here are our 5 best tips for protecting your yard, home, and family from mosquito bites this summer:
1. Educate yourself on their attractors:
While you may not be able to help it, sweat is a major contributor to mosquito attraction. The reason for this is that sweat cultivates bacteria, which creates an odor irritable for mosquitos. This does not mean to load up on perfumes either. The artificial floral scents actually draw them to your skin too.
Mosquitos can catch hint of a scent from 100 yards away. Unfortunately, breathing gives off an attractive scent through carbon dioxide. Pregnant women actually produce more carbon dioxide. Obviously you have to breathe, so know how to properly protect yourself depending on your environment.
2. Use DEET- containing repellants:
DEET is the best chemical produced to repel mosquitos. It was made in 1957 and has been shown to be safe for over 40 years now. Look for mosquito repellant products that contain DEET.
As you might have guessed it, Off! Repellants are made of 25% DEET chemicals.
Be conscious of the time a repellant lasts. Much like sunscreen, they either need to be reapplied or restocked. OFF! produces a variety of products, so there shouldn’t be any excuse as to not use them.They sell products for a variety of uses: sprays for your skin, sprays for your yard, clip-on disks, candles, even a portable coil you can move around your porch/ outdoor living space.
If you are uncomfortable using chemicals, opt for essential oils. Again, the expiration of these oils is about an hour, so reapply as needed. Mosquitos also avoid smells like lemongrass, lavender, and peppermint. Use these oils at night, however, away from the sun. Oils increase skin sensitivity UV rays in sunlight. That direct contact can cause many other UV ray ailments.
Pick your battles!
3. Plant a protective garden:
Sometimes the best way to fight nature is with nature itself. Without spraying your home with chemicals (despite being safe for children and pets), use plants and their natural aromas provide a deterrent for mosquitos because they are not attracted to them.
- Lavender: Lavender can serve as your yard’s garden perfume, and luckily for Floridians, they flourish in warm environments. Unlike manmade fragrances, lavender’s strong scent is strong enough to disorient and temporarily disarm a mosquito’s sense of smell, therefore distracting them from your scent and your yard.
- Marigolds: Marigolds are universally useful for many pests. They are very easy to grow year-round and also defers mosquitos from its scent. Marigolds can protect your garden from flies, beetles, even weeds!
- Rosemary: My mom picks her fresh rosemary for our annual holiday roast, so not only is it wonderful for cooking, it’s also a line of defense for mosquitos. Rosemary is easy to grow in hot climates and can be potted or planted in the ground. The woody scent is not one attractive to mosquitos so they fly away from the area they’re planted in.
If gardening is something you want to give a try for your yard’s mosquito protection, consider consulting with Daniel’s Lawn Service for landscaping designs. Mosquito bites are itchy eye sores but your yard doesn’t have to be!
4. Remove physical mosquito attractions from your yard:
Your yard can be a mosquito’s favorite social gathering. What makes a social ground for mosquitos? Stagnant water. The reason for this is that small amounts of stagnant water are optimal areas for mosquitos to reproduce.
- Dump water from your dog’s outside water bowl or kiddie pool when they are no longer being used.
- Drill holes in open recycling or garbage bins so rain can drain through the bottom.
- Check and clean your home’s gutters regularly for clogs because a mixture of water and debris will create that aroma of bacteria.
- Keep your pool chlorinated year round. It is very easy for your pool to attract bacteria, turning your pool green.
5. Shop for repellant yard products:
Growing up, our favorite backyard mosquito deterrent were tiki torches lit with a repellant fuel. Not only do they look cool, the flame emits a natural repellant into the surrounding area. However, there are so many other safer options on the market. If you want something smaller, say for a small dinner party outside, consider just a small citronella candle. If you have children around and prefer not to have an open flame, lanterns that emit scents to mask the scent of carbon dioxide are available.
Unfortunately, not sweating in a Florida summer is not an option just like not watching Disney’s fireworks on the 4th of July! You shouldn’t have to sacrifice outdoor summer activities in fear of mosquito bites. My best advice is to invest in some of these products instead of investing in calamine lotion!