Preventing Mosquito Bites

old tiresMosquito bites have always been a nuisance. They can also be a major health hazard in areas where mosquitos are known carry West Nile Virus or Malaria.

Avoiding mosquito bites

Mosquitos are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn. If you stay indoors during these hours, you will avoid the prime mosquito feeding time. Keep your pets indoors too.

When in mosquito territory, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes. A hat with mosquito netting is a must in heavily infested areas.

Use mosquito repellents containing Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or Deet. Spraying your clothing with a repellent containing Permethrin provides extra protection as mosquitos can bite through thin clothing. Never spray Permethrin directly on your skin. Be sure to carefully read and follow the label directions and precautions for any products you use.

On your property

Mosquitos lay eggs in as little as 1/4" of standing water. The most important thing you can do to prevent mosquitos on your property is to find and eliminate all sources of standing water. Mosquitoes will breed in anything that can hold water, including many common items which are easily overlooked::

  • old tires
  • toys
  • standing water on plasic or canvas tarps, pool covers
  • plant trays or saucers
  • buckets
  • tin cans, garbage can lids and plastic covers.
  • pet food and water dishes
  • boats - store small boats like canoes or rowboats upside down.
  • bird baths, wading pools and fountains. If you have any of these, be sure to change the water at least once a week.
  • garden tools and sprinkler attachments, hose storage reels
  • ornamental ponds - keep water circulating, if possible stock with fish that prey on mosquito larvae. Bacteria tablets which target mosquito larvae (commonly known as "mosquito dunks") can also be used, and are very effective.
  • clogged rain gutters - a popular mosquito breeding ground!
  • livestock water troughs

Also, replace outside lights with yellow "bug lights", use citronella candles or coils, and consider using carbon dioxide mosquito traps. If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, keep the water circulating and properly treated with chlorine.

Certain plants tend to repel mosquitos - these include geraniums, basil, oregano, catnip, and citrus or lemon-scented plants like lemon balm and lemon grass.

Inside your home

  • Make sure door and window screens are in good repair. Examine them for holes where mosquitos could enter. Patch or replace screening as needed.
  • Don't leave doors open longer than necessary.
  • Don't leave unscreened windows open.
Got bitten despite taking precautions? Try these mosquito bite remedies.