Hey, if the goal is to spend as much time outside as possible, what is stopping us?
Assuming we have a usable outdoor space to retreat to, what can still leave us running inside? Mosquitoes! Nothing is worse than having a great time outside and be forced to run inside to get away from the mosquitoes!
And since mosquito season starts late April/early May no better time than today to get some info on those pesky little suckers (pun intended.)
When are they most active?
Two of the most common mosquito species in the U.S. are the Asian Tiger Mosquito and the Common House Mosquito. These two species are active at different points during the day. The Asian Tiger Mosquito (on the left) tends to bite during the day. On the other hand the Common House Mosquito (on the right) seeks out shaded and wet areas until dusk. At dusk they leave their hiding places in search of food. They are most likely to bite in the evening or the first few hours of the night. The Common House Mosquito will continue to bite all night if given the opportunity. All species are least likely to bite in the middle of the day, when the sun and heat are at the peak of the day.
What attracts mosquitoes?
- Standing WaterMosquitoes only need a small amount of water to deposit their eggs. So one thing you can do to combat the mosquito population on your property is by removing breeding ground opportunities. Get rid of any places where there is standing water. Make sure trash cans are covered, make sure flower pots have drainage etc. If you have a bird bath just replace the water every 3 days or so so that they cannot hatch. You do not need to worry about your pools. The pool filter creates enough movement that the movement will eliminate it as a breeding ground.
- Carbon Dioxide:Carbon Dioxide is the primary source mosquitoes use to identify their sources of food. So if you are breathing heavier than normal, like from exercising, you will be drawing more attention to yourself from mosquitoes! If you are exercising in an area with a higher mosquito population you should use a strong bug spray.
- Heat:Heat is how mosquitoes know where to bite you. They are looking for places on your body producing the most heat because they are searching for where the blood is closest to the surface. Making it easier for them to feed. So if you are overheated, there will be more warm places than usual that look appealing to the mosquitoes.
Breeze and wind make it difficult for mosquitoes to fly. If you have a steady breeze naturally you should be relatively mosquito free. If it is not a breezy day, consider using a plug-in fan to keep the air circulating and difficult for the mosquitoes to fly. Keep the fan directed low to the ground since that is where they tend to fly.
It seems that most sources claim that the citronella candles are not actually a good mosquito repellent. The smoke from the candles needs to be between you and the mosquito and if you keep in mind that they typically fly low to the ground, it is easy to see that they may not be so effective. So you can add them to the mix, but don’t use them as your only repellent.
This tip is borderline because the point of all of this is to not have to adjust you lifestyle in order to avoid mosquitoes. But if you want to ensure the ability to remain outside during the day, mosquitoes find targets by looking for things that contrast with the horizon. During the day avoid dark colors as they stand out and stick to lighter colors since those are less attractive to mosquitoes.
When choosing a spray make sure to use one that uses an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered repellent with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol.
- When using spray, you should not spray it all over your body and clothes like it’s perfume. Instead you should spray some onto your hands and rub it where the skin is thin, your ankles, elbows, wrists, forehead, and all the other places with the thinnest skin. That is where mosquitoes love to feed. Another thing to keep in mind about DEET spray is that the concentration determines how long it will last not how well it will work. So if you’ll be outside for 90 minutes or less use a product with 7 percent to 10 percent and you can always reapply after the 90 minutes. DEET wipes or lotion are just as effective and no chance of breathing any in.
For more tips, here are some more Chester County specific tips: chesco.org
So use these tips to keep you mosquito free and stay outside! Of course, if your property isn’t feeling like a retreat even bug free, call us today and set up a consultation with a landscape designer! The goal is to enjoy the outdoors comfortably!