Mosquitoes love the weather we’re having at the moment.
Rain combined with warm afternoons make for a sticky, humid mosquito breeding wonderland, creating hordes of mozzies ready to chomp on you and your family during your next BBQ.
There are a few simple ways that you can make your summer mozzie free.
Mosquito Fun Facts
- Only female mosquitoes bite; they need additional nutrients to cultivate eggs.
- They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale, as well as our body heat and bacteria on our skin. Each of us have a different mix of chemical compounds in our sweat, which may explain why some people attract mozzies more than others.
- Type O is the blood type of choice. There is no evidence that you can eat or drink anything to make you less attractive to mosquitoes – bananas and garlic are a couple of the disproved theories.
- Interestingly, some research suggests certain mosquito breeds may be attracted to beer. The why varied: some say it was the increase in carbon dioxide that fizzles out of a beer when opened; others say it’s the increase in body heat that occurs while consuming alcohol; while others jokingly suggested mozzies had evolved to attack people with slower reaction times.
- ‘Bug Zappers’ are not effective at eliminating mosquitoes.
How to Repel Mosquitoes from Your Home
Citronella is known for repelling mosquitoes because it masks the scents that the little critters are attracted to. While they are one of the more popular repellent options, it is important to invest in a good quality product.
The Citronella formula needs to be correct for the product to work effectively and as with most things, you get what you pay for!
Some plants produce scents that mosquitoes can’t stand. Some of these include mint, marigold, lemon trees, basil and lavender.
Set up some planter boxes on the deck and near the door. Not only will these plants help keep the mozzies away, but they will look pretty as well.
While we don’t recommend applying essential oils directly onto the skin, they are a great option if you have a diffuser at home. You’ll only need 10 or so drops of your favourite scent for the desired effect. We recommend lemon, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, basil and lemongrass.
They can do a fantastic job of repelling mosquitoes and will make your home smell wonderful as well.
Set Up Your Home
Fans are an optimal choice for repelling mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are weak fliers and a fan will blow around those human scents they are attracted to, making it tough for them to home in on their prey.
Check your flyscreens aren’t damaged - you'd be surprised how many have holes in them. Ensure that doors to the outside aren’t left open during peak mozzie times.
The pests like to breed in shallow water, so remove containers that are holding water, such as empty plant pots or buckets, from your backyard.
Plan Your Day
Try to avoid going out at dusk and early in the morning. For most species, these are their preferred times of the day and you'll be highly susceptible at this time. They hide during direct sunlight hours as sun exposure dehydrates them.
Make the Right Outfit Choice
Wear loose fitting and lightly coloured clothing if you’re out and about as mosquitoes are drawn to darker colours. Wear socks and shoes where possible.
How to Treat Mosquito Bites
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, the mosquitos have found you and those all too familiar itchy bumps have popped up on your skin. They can be frustrating, particularly when you are trying to get to sleep on a warm summer's night.
Here’s how to relieve that itch and speed up the healing process.
Ice. Place on your bites for 10 minutes or so, to help reduce inflammation and take away that itching sensation.
Bi-Carb Soda. This alkaline powder neutralises the PH levels of your bites, relieving the itchiness. Make a paste with a little warm water and apply to the affected area. You’ll need to leave the paste on for up to half an hour before rinsing off. I used this trick recently with my young daughter and it worked a treat - no more itching (or complaining!).
Aloe Vera. The antiseptic properties of Aloe Vera gel will help to reduce the swelling and help you heal quicker. Pop the gel in the fridge for 5 minutes before applying for extra relief.
Honey. Just a little honey will suffice on the spot. Honey has antibacterial properties, helping to fight infection and reduce inflammation.
Remember to visit a doctor if the bites appear infected or if you are feeling generally unwell.