Summer ‘19 is finally here and we couldn’t be more excited. Now that it’s patio season, we’re ready to get outside, start barbecuing and relaxing. The one thing that can get in the way of your perfect summer evening is Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are (in my opinion) one of the most annoying bugs out there. Constantly buzzing in your ear, uncomfortable itchy bites, and they never seem to go away.
When you’re outside this summer, there are a few things to keep in mind that make you more appealing to the average mosquito. Dark clothing, exercise, beer, pregnancy, and blood type. Between all of those factors, most people are going to look pretty tasty to mosquitoes. They’re attracted to the heat that dark clothing offers and the sweat that comes from exercising. Like a lot of humans, mosquitoes also love beer.
Pregnant women exhale more carbon dioxide and are often warmer, which leads to increased mosquito attraction. Finally, Type O blood has been found to attract mosquitoes twice as much as other blood types. For more details on these facts, check out the Smithsonian page on mosquitoes.
Don’t worry, we did our research and are here to tell you exactly how to prevent mosquito bites this summer. We found some natural remedies, preventative measures, best practices, and best repellents to help you stay mosquito bite free in the upcoming months.
Top 5 Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites
1. Clear out their breeding ground
- Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a ¼ inch of water. Any standing or still water that you have around your patio is going to be a mosquito hotel. Common standing water sources around your backyard and patio are going to be bird baths, small ponds, kiddie pools, and clogged gutters. If you’re prone to mosquito bites, or even just hate them, make an effort to drain your standing water sources and clean your gutters!
2. Wear light colors and avoid fragrances
- Like we mentioned, mosquitoes are attracted to dark colored clothing because it provides more heat. By wearing lighter colored clothing and long sleeves, you’ll be able to avoid the attention of mosquitoes a little better. Additionally, any sweet smelling fragrances are going to attract mosquitoes to you. It’s in your best interest to avoid fragrances.
3. Mosquito Repellent
- Mosquito repellent is going to be your best friend if you’re prone to bites. It’s one of the best ways to avoid bites because of how effective it is. Clothing and other preventive measures can only get you so far. In the next section, we cover the best repellents that you can wear and the best mosquito repellents for your patio.
4. Use a fan
- You wouldn’t think so, but putting a fan on your patio is going to help prevent mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are pretty small little dudes, and they’re not all that strong. If you have a fan circulating air, they’re not going to be able to fly around for extended periods of time. If you’re really serious about mosquito prevention on your patio, think about two fans. One floor fan to keep them away from your feet and ankles, and another for the upper body.
5. Avoid certain times of day
- This is tough because it involves removing yourself from your patio for a period of time, but if nothing else has worked, it’s time to give this a try. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. If you want to avoid the busiest time of day for mosquitoes, try going inside for 30 minutes to an hour. It’s not ideal, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Best Mosquito Repellents (For Your Skin)
Mosquito repellents are going to be your best bet when it comes to preventing mosquito bites. Although preventative measures are a good step, repellents are tried and tested and have proved to be the number one option.
The best repellents are going to contain DEET, which is a chemical that is the active ingredient in the majority of repellent products. Most repellents will contain between 5% and 30% DEET. The higher the percentage, the more effective and longer lasting. DEET has been reviewed by the EPA multiple times and has been proven to be safe for adults and children over the age of 8 weeks. We put together a list of the best mosquito repellents that are worth buying.
1. OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent
- Off! Is going to be the absolute best mosquito repellent that you can purchase. It’s been tested many times and has always proven to be safe and the strongest option for repelling mosquitoes. An additional benefit is that it repels ticks as well, another bite that is less than ideal. After reading through the reviews and testing the product, the only downside is that it doesn’t smell super great. We think that’s a fair trade-off for protection from mosquitoes.
2. Sawyer Insect Repellent
- This mosquito repellent is similar to Off! but uses Picaridin rather than DEET. The benefit of Picaridin is that it is odorless and non-greasy. The downside is that while it’s been tested for safety by the EPA and approved, it’s only been available in the US since 2005, so long term effects are still relatively unknown. However, don’t let that dissuade you, this is a close second when it comes to mosquito repellent.
3. Repel Plant-Based Mosquito Repellent
- If you’re looking for a plant-based natural insect repellent, Repel is going to be your go-to choice. Made using the oil of lemon eucalyptus, this spray can protect you from mosquitoes for up to 6 hours. When you go the natural route, you sacrifice longevity and effectiveness, so it depends on what is most important to you.
Based on the research that we’ve done, these are some of the most effective repellents available on the market today. There are a lot of other repellents that use different ingredients or are “all natural”, but they’re ineffective. Some last a few hours max, and if you’ve been around a lot of mosquitoes, you know that just doesn’t cut it.
Best Mosquito Repellents (For Your Patio)
There are a few mosquito repellent options worth checking out that you can utilize to prevent mosquitoes on your patio. These aren’t quite as effective as direct spray on repellent, but everything helps when you’re dealing with mosquitoes!
1. Cutter Spray Concentrate
- The spray concentrate is a bottle that you connect to your hose and then spray on your lawn. It contains DEET so the idea is that when mosquitoes land on your lawn, they’ll die. It is advertised as lasting up to 12 weeks and is safe for vegetation. This seems like a great option considering one of the excellent reviews we found on amazon.
“My backyard was originally like Valhalla for Mosquitoes. Like only the bravest and strongest mosquitoes were allowed in. And those little bastards were fighting for Odin day by day. It was a miserable place to be.
But I sprayed the entire yard with this and I haven’t seen ANY mosquitoes at all. Like none. Like I can run shirtless in the yard without fear — outside of being seen running shirtless by the neighbor lady.” – William M. Ferriter (Amazon Review)
2. Flowtron Electronic Insect Killer
- The Flowtron electronic insect killer is not only an effective way to ward off mosquitoes on your patio, it has a pretty cool name. It’s safe for pets and children and biting bugs are weirdly attracted to the light. If you have an aversion to sprays, this might be the choice for you and your patio.
3. Citronella Candles/Ultrasonic Devices
- Citronella candles and ultrasonic devices are hit or miss when it comes to the effectiveness of repelling mosquitoes. Some swear by them, others say they’re a scam. If you’ve run out of options and are willing to give anything a try, go for it. They’re cheap and easy to use, but don’t expect great results. We’ve found that they’re not all that effective.
Frequently Asked Questions
“Can you be allergic to mosquitoes?”
Most people have some sort of sensitivity to mosquito bites. The sensitivity doesn’t come from the bite itself, but from the saliva of the mosquito. You’ll often see bites slightly swell and become red and itchy. The is formally called “skeeter syndrome”. The side effects of a bite for those that are allergic can vary in severity. We looked through the healthline information about mosquito allergies and found some great information.
If your mosquito bites swell larger than a quarter, bruise, you notice hives, or you’re feeling feverish, you’re most likely allergic to mosquito bites. The rarest and most severe cases involve people going into anaphylaxis. However, that’s extremely uncommon and not something that the average person needs to worry about. Common ways to combat mild mosquito bite allergies are over the counter antihistamines, topical anti itch creams, and cold packs.
“How long do mosquitoes live for?”
The lifespan of mosquitoes depends on the gender. Male mosquitoes will only live up to 10 days while female mosquitoes have a lifespan of three weeks to a month. Unfortunately, female mosquitoes are the ones that bite, so we’re stuck with them for a little longer.
“Do dogs get bit by mosquitoes?”
Your dog is just as susceptible to mosquito bites as you are! They’ll experience the same redness and itchy feeling that humans do, they’re just a little less equipped to deal with the annoyance. Dogs will often get bit in places with less fur, like the nose or the ears.
In most circumstances, they’ll be frustrated but recover just fine. The risk comes from mosquito borne illnesses like heart-worm. If your dog seems a little under the weather after a run in with mosquitoes, it might be worth taking them to the vet.
“Why do mosquito bites itch?”
From MedicalNewsToday, “When a mosquito bite breaks the skin, a person’s body recognizes the mosquito’s saliva as a foreign substance. This causes an immune system response, which aims to flush out the intruder. The swelling around the bite is caused by histamine, which is produced by the immune system.
Histamine increases blood flow and white blood cell count around the affected area, which causes inflammation or swelling. Mosquito bites itch because histamine also sends a signal to the nerves around the bite.”