Female mosquitos require a protein in blood to create eggs. Female mosquitoes also feed on nectar. Male mosquitos only feed on nectar.
About 20% of the population are of appeal to female mosquitoes. Blood type may be a factor: Type O blood appears to be a favorite.
But there are a few other factors, too. Mosquitos are also attracted to carbon dioxide — which all humans exhale — as well as the smell of sweat — which we all do — and bacteria on skin, particularly around ankles and necks — which we all have.
What You Can Do to Keep Mosquitos at Bay
Choose Clothes Wisely
Want to minimize your visibility to the little bloodsuckers? Mosquitoes see and are attracted to dark colors, so wear pastels.
Drink Less Beer
Yes, mosquitoes really are more attracted to beer-drinkers.
Nip the Bud at the Source
Mosquito eggs, larva, and pupa all require standing water. Empty, eliminate, cover, and frequently change or treat any standing water. Cover open rainwater containers with insect netting. Use a bungee cord to keep netting in place and for easy access. Frequently change water in birdbaths, butterfly water containers, and pet dishes.
Treat water in containers where water is necessary — such as ponds, water features, or fountains — with Bacillus thuringiensis “Israelensis” (Bti).
Bti is a bacterium that only kills mosquito larva. Purchase Bti at garden centers or feed and hardware stores in the form of granules or floating donuts called dunks. Read the label carefully for control directions. Some formulations last one month, but others require additions every two weeks.
If you don’t want to use insecticide, you can add mosquito-eating fish, Gambusias, instead. Purchase Gambusias at live bait shops.
More Helpful Tips for Avoiding Bites
- Do not use highly fragrant perfumes, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, or laundry detergent. Mosquitoes like nectar and come to sweet fragrances.
- If you are a mosquito-magnet, use a personal protection product to repel or kill mosquitoes. Wear long pants and shirt sleeves. Avoid early morning and evening. The ankle- and neck-biting mosquitoes are active these hours.
- Discard old tires or any trash that holds water. Drill holes in tire swings or planters so the tire and planters will drain. Check frequently for clogged holes.
- Screen or cover cisterns, rain barrels, and water tanks.
- Repair leaking pipes and faucets.
- Clean roof gutters and downspouts to make sure the water drains properly.
- Fill tree cavities with sand or treat with Bti
- If drainage ditches do not drain properly, treat with Bti.
- Repair or replace all window and door screens. Purchase window screen at hardware stores. Measure the opening to make sure you purchase the correct width and length.
- Treat outdoor areas with mosquito repellents at least two hours before outdoors activities. Hosed applicators, sprays, and smoke producing repellants are available.
I also like to use a cedar/garlic nark product. I apply in the play area when all the grandkids and friends are visiting. Be forewarned: The garlic smell makes kids ask for pizza!
Personal Protection Products
Personal protection products are either insecticides or repellants. Select a product for your activity level and attraction factor. Sprays, creams, and towelettes are available; some also have sunscreen. Certain lotions, creams, and sprays have plant oils in the ingredients, like rosemary, lavender, or citronella oil.
Read the product label carefully. Try the product in a small area to make sure your skin does not have a reaction. Some products are not appropriate for
children. If you have a mosquito-magnet child, only apply products to areas the child will not put in their mouth.
Mosquito-Repelling Plants for Your Garden
You can also add these plants to your garden to help prevent getting mosquito bites. They all have repelling properties.
- Citronella Grass (Lemongrass)
- Citronella-scented Geranium
- Bee Balm
- Allium (ornamental garlic and onions)
Here’s to a mosquito bite-free summer!