Beware of Backyard Pests: How to Keep Mosquitoes Away

Scientists have learned that pesky mosquitoes really do prefer to dine on some people more than others. A few factors that make you more attractive to these vexing insects include carbon dioxide levels, body scent and booze.

  1. Carbon dioxide. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, and the amount we exhale can draw in mosquitoes. We can’t see this mixture of carbon dioxide, lactic and other acids that we breathe into the air, but mosquitoes seem to favor a particular combination. People with more body mass tend to breathe out more CO2 and have an increased risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. Pregnant women also suffer from the same fate— they’re twice more likely to receive mosquito bites.

Coincidentally, it’s only the female mosquito that bites. They need the iron and protein your blood provides to nourish their eggs.

  1. Body scent. Are you the type of person who is constantly showering in the summertime? You could be doing yourself a favor when it comes to avoiding mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are drawn to the smell of “old sweat” that has been sitting on your skin with time to mix with bacteria colonies. Scientists report that bacteria-laden sweat smells sweet to mosquitoes and they’ll head straight toward that scent.
  2. It seems that mosquitoes prefer people whose alcoholic beverage of choice is beer. Other types of alcohol circulating in your bloodstream also raise your appeal to the tiny bloodsuckers, but beer seems to be the clear favorite among mosquitoes.

Interestingly, it seems that the color of your clothing also makes a difference. You should wear light-toned colors found in nature, like white and yellow, for the best chance of avoiding mosquitoes. If you wear dark blue or red clothing, you’ll stand out like a sore thumb to a blood-starved skeeter.

In addition to wearing mosquito-dodging colors and skipping the beer at your next backyard picnic, you can take other some practical steps to minimize the presence of mosquitoes in your yard.

  1. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, make sure you don’t have any laying around on your property. Check gutters, drains, buckets and water bowls to make sure water isn’t standing and becoming stagnant.
  2. If you’re adding lights to your yard, look for yellow lights, which stores often labeled as “bug lights.” mosquitoes seem to be much more attracted to white incandescent lights.
  3. Mosquitoes aren’t known for being powerful fliers, and they have difficulty navigating breezes. If you’ll be spending an extended amount of time outside, consider setting up a fan to generate a breeze across the space where you’ll be hanging out.
  4. If you don’t like the scent of citronella candles, you’re not alone. Luckily, an even more efficient repellent for mosquitoes is a set of tiki torches. These bamboo torches not only create a luau-like atmosphere, but they generate smoke that repels mosquitoes and other flying insects.
  5. If you live in an area with a heavy mosquito population, consider applying a mosquito repellent that contains active ingredients like DEET or picaridin. You can also try mixing up an all-natural bug spray using essential oils, like clove, lemongrass, tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender and mint.

 

Unless you live in a bubble, it’s nearly impossible to protect yourself from mosquitoes 100 percent of the time, but you can take steps to lower your odds of being bitten. Itchy and scratchy mosquito bites are a part of summer we can all do without.

 

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