Saturday September 23, 2023

Tips for avoiding mosquitoes this summer

Entomologist suggests ways to avoid settings that can help mosquitoes to follow you or develop inside your home

By Web Desk
May 28, 2023
This representational picture shows a magnified image of a mosquito. — Unsplash/File
This representational picture shows a magnified image of a mosquito. — Unsplash/File

In many regions of the country, mosquito season has begun as a result of warmer temperatures and rain. 

Mosquito season means an increase in mosquito bites. Entomologist Sonja Swiger, PhD, of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has shared five suggestions for keeping mosquitoes out of your house this summer.

  • Dispose of stagnant water:

According to Swiger, stagnant water is where mosquitoes breed. The number of nesting places around the house that are near water can be reduced.

She explained that since it takes an immature mosquito 10 to 14 days to develop in water, it is wise to replenish or remove any water that has been left out for more than five days.

Water dishes, bird baths, plant saucers, leaking faucets, and gutters are a few potential places to look for standing water.

“Observe your surroundings for water that is standing for more than a few days and dump the water or make sure it is free of larvae,” she advised.

  • Keep the doors shut and use impenetrable screens:

Body heat and the carbon dioxide that results from our breathing attract mosquitoes. 

While open windows and doors with screens are an excellent barrier to keep mosquitoes out of homes, it's crucial to make sure that the screens are impenetrable by holes and that the doors are kept locked.

The use of screens on your windows and doors is strongly advised if you want to keep mosquitoes outside, according to Swiger. “Mosquitoes are going to do what they have to in order to get to us.”

  • Avoid an overgrown yard and shrubbery:

Despite individual preferences on personal property, it is critical to avoid creating the kind of habitat that adult mosquitoes need to survive. Mosquitoes find refuge in potted plants, tall, dense grass, and overgrown landscaping plants.

You can reduce the possibility of mosquitoes entering your house by controlling such environments outside.

“It is important not to have too many potted plants or overgrown shrubs because those serve as harborages for adult mosquitoes to thrive in,” Swiger said.

  • Use repellents consistently:

Swiger also advises the use of repellents as one of the only surefire ways to avoid mosquito bites if you're outside.

It is advised to use spray repellents because they are more effective at disguising our scent from insects. Citronella candles are not nearly as effective, according to Swiger, because the aroma does not "travel far enough" to offer any protection.

  • Know when mosquitoes are in action:

Swiger further said that different mosquito species have different levels of activity. It's critical to be aware of their activity as a preventative measure.

While some are active in the early morning, others are active at nightfall and during the night. The number of mosquitoes in or around your home can be decreased by taking preventative steps, and frequent use of repellents can help lessen bites.

Inform your local public health department to report sites if you observe or detect a public area with high mosquito concentrations. Public health professionals can take steps to control mosquito populations and prevent their spread to new locations.