How to repel mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are back as soon as the nice and warm weather comes back, reminding us that they are not only positive aspects about summer. Thankfully, there are many ways, natural or chemical, to repel mosquitoes.
A little information about mosquitoes
Mosquitoes develop in stagnant waters, or with very little current (ponds, kiddie pools, bird baths, water puddles, etc.). Adult mosquitoes often rest in high herbs and bushes during the day, but the larvae can’t survive there.
Depending on the specie, some females will lay their eggs directly on the water’s surface (by groups of up to 400) and others will lay them in places that will be flooded later, like a dried pond. The eggs will hatch the next day, transforming into larvae that resembles worms.
Did you know that males only feed on flowers’ nectar? It’s the females that need blood to produce their eggs. Some will prefer birds; others feed on animals and others… humans.
What doesn’t work
Before investing in a fancy defense system against mosquitoes, know that Health Canada states that:
- Electrocuting devices don’t eliminate or reduce the amount of mosquitoes.
- Electronic devices that send out high-pitched sounds don’t repel mosquitoes.
- The allegations saying that some plants placed around the house would repel mosquitoes are not backed by scientific studies.
Eliminate reproduction sites
To help you reduce the amount of mosquitoes around your house, you can start by reducing as many reproduction sites as you can.
- Flip over empty flowers pots, watering cans, wheelbarrows, etc.
- Empty swings made out of tires and if possible, replace them with another type of swings that won’t accumulate water.
- Cover trashcans, recycling bins and compost sites.
- Peirce holes in the bottom of containers that need to stay outside, but can’t be covered, so that water can drain away.
- Replace at least twice a week the water from birds baths and outside water bowls for your pets.
- If you have one, empty your rain water barrel if it contains the same water for more than a week, except if it’s covered by a fine wire mesh.
- Keep airing, putting chlorine and cleaning your pool, even if no one swims in it.
- Eliminate any water accumulation on top of your pool cover.
- Replace the water from kiddie pools at least twice a week and flip them over when they are not used.
- Keep your gutters clean.
- Air your ornamental pond.
To protect yourself
Before using insecticides, there are some basic tricks to protect yourself against mosquitoes. First, your clothing can help! By wearing long and loose clothes that are tightly knitted and wearing socks and shoes, you will see a big difference! But we are very aware that dressing this way when it’s hot is not realistic. That’s why there are other options.
A wide variety of repellents are available, with diverse concentration of chemicals, such as DEET. If used correctly, these products are effective. However, it is recommended to always follow the instructions and dosage recommendations, especially for kids under 12. To know more about the usage of insecticides with DEET, you can read our article on the subject.
Even though it’s not supported by scientific research, many plants have shown their usefulness over the last centuries, like lavender, geraniums, basil, eucalyptus and citronella. Without solving the problem, planting these around your house or on your porch, can help repelling bugs. Lavender is also known to repel wasps and ants.
Some essential oils also have the same effect as the plants they are from. Just dissolve one drop of the essential oil in 10 drops of vegetable oil and apply on exposed skin. You can also use rose geranium oil (not during pregnancy or nursing) right on a bite to stop the scratching.
Did you know any of this about mosquitoes? How do you reduce their population around your house?