When it comes to protecting yourself and your family from biting mosquitoes, you should focus on the three “D’s” of mosquito control: Dress, Defend, and Drain!
Dress & Defend
The best way to defend yourself against mosquitoes is to try and avoid mosquito-infested areas or stay indoors when mosquitoes are active during the peak biting times of dawn and dusk. Also, make sure your home is properly equipped with tight-fitting doors and window screens that will keep mosquitoes from coming inside. If you are outside during times of the day when mosquitoes are active, following these tips can help reduce your chances of being bitten.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
- Wear light-colored clothing, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Avoid excessive physical exertion.
- Use colognes and perfumes sparingly.
- Use mosquito repellent.
DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) remains the standard by which all other repellents are measured. DEET was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was registered for use by the general public in the 1950s. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that all family members over the age of two months can use DEET-based repellents with up to 30% concentration with confidence. Be sure to read the ingredient labels for any repellent that you choose and follow the recommended use directions. Consult the American Mosquito Control Association website for more information on the various types of mosquito repellent active ingredients and devices.
You can reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home neighborhood by eliminating places where they lay their eggs. Young mosquitoes are aquatic, and they must have standing water to develop from egg to adult. Here are some simple steps you can take:
- Dispose of open containers which can fill with water
- Properly dispose of discarded tires.
- Empty bird baths and fill with fresh water at least once a week.
- Check and clean clogged roof gutters so they will drain properly.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
- Children’s toys and tarps covering cars, boat, and other equipment can also hold water.
- Cover trash containers to prevent rainwater accumulation.
- Tarp boats and canoes or turn them over.
- Keep ditches and streams adjoining your property free of grass clippings, garbage, and other debris, which will obstruct the natural flow of water.
- Fill in tree-rot holes with cement.
- Cover rain barrels with screening.
- Tightly cover wells, septic tanks, cisterns, and cesspools.
Check Your Home
Inspect this home for examples of places that could breed mosquitoes and what you could do to eliminate them:
Animal and pet water bowls that are not kept fresh breed mosquitoes.
Overwatering plants can lead to pooling water that can breed mosquitoes.
Old boats or unused vehicles can collect water and breed mosquitoes.
Rotted or naturally formed holes in trees or plants breed mosquitoes.
Clogged gutters and downspouts can breed mosquitoes.
Bird baths that are not maintained with fresh water can breed mosquitoes.
Potted plants with saucers underneath or water gardens can breed mosquitoes.
Wheelbarrows or other yard toys can collect water and breed mosquitoes.
Unscreened rain barrels can breed mosquitoes.
Abandoned or covered swimming pools and hot tubs can breed mosquitoes.
Old tires, buckets, and even tarps can collect water and breed mosquitoes.
Ponds without fish or adequate water circulation can breed mosquitoes.