How Can You Stop Mosquitoes From Biting This Summer?
As summer heats up in Des Moines, Kansas City, and Omaha as well as throughout the Midwest the arrival of mosquitoes is inevitable. Since there’s plenty of summer left and these biting pests aren’t going away anytime soon, we thought it appropriate to share a bit of information about these pesky insects including what attracts mosquitoes and how Midwesterners can protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Why are mosquito bites dangerous?
To be fair, not all itchy red welts left behind by mosquitoes are dangerous. Only the bites of mosquitoes carrying diseases are worrisome. Here in the Midwest, the mosquito-borne illnesses to be aware of include:
- West Nile virus
- La Crosse encephalitis
- Louis encephalitis
- Western equine encephalitis
While cases of malaria have recently been detected in Florida and Texas, that particular illness is not currently a concern in our part of the country. Likewise, transmission of Zika virus, Chikungunya, and Dengue fever are not something to worry about at this time. Cases have been reported, however, were acquired during traveling, usually outside of the United States.
Male mosquitoes won’t bite
Only female mosquitoes are out for blood – quite literally. In order to develop their eggs, female mosquitoes need protein from blood. Since males are not responsible for this particular task, they have no need for a blood meal. They may act aggressively out of defense but get their energy from plant juices, such as nectar.
What attracts mosquitoes to certain people?
Are you the one who attracts mosquitoes in a crowd? There’s always someone that mosquitoes are naturally drawn to and there are a variety of reasons why, including but not limited to:
- Carbon dioxide
The more carbon dioxide you emit/exhale, the easier it is for them to find you.
Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat because it contains lactic acid and ammonia.
- Blood type
Mosquitoes prefer people with blood type O more than other blood types.
Not only do pregnant women run hotter, they tend to sweat more and give off more carbon dioxide – all things that attract mosquitoes
- Food & drink consumed
Beer and other alcoholic beverages cause a chemical change on your skin and increase your body heat. Food higher in potassium (i.e., bananas, potatoes, and avocados) make your body give off more lactic acid, which as we mentioned before, attracts mosquitoes
What attracts mosquitoes to your yard
If you’re tired of being chased indoors by mosquitoes every time you set foot in your yard, it’s probably because there are conditions present that are promoting mosquito activity. Mosquitoes are attracted to properties that have the following:
- Standing water
Even the smallest amount of standing or stagnant water will attract female mosquitoes because that is where they lay their eggs. Common mosquito breeding sites include old tires, buckets, flower pots, trashcan lids, children’s toys, kiddie pools, outdoor pet bowls, and birdbaths.
- Clogged gutters
When leaves, tree branches, and other organic debris clog gutters, water collects and when water collects, female mosquitoes lay eggs.
- Tall grass, dense overgrowth & yard debris
Most mosquitoes avoid the sun and heat in the middle of the day by resting in shady areas, such as tall grass, dense or overgrown vegetation, grass clippings, and other debris.
Practical tips to avoid mosquito bites this summer
To avoid mosquito bites, you’ll need to plan and implement a two-pronged defense- focus on personal protection and make your property less appealing to mosquitoes. Here are a few mosquito (and mosquito bite) prevention tips our team of pest control specialists have put together.
- Stay inside at dawn and dusk
Many species of mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk so if you’re planning outdoor activities, try to avoid the morning and early evening hours.
- Wear the right clothing
Whether you’re cutting the grass, gardening, or just relaxing outside, consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a hat with netting – in other words, clothing and accessories that cover skin.
- Use mosquito repellent
Use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent if you have to be outside when mosquitoes are active. Mosquito repellents that contain DEET are typically a good choice but we highly recommend talking to your physician before applying anything product.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites
Since mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant water, it is imperative that you eliminate water that is collecting on your property. Pick up trash can lids and tarps, turn empty buckets and flower pots over, refresh bird baths and kiddie pools often, unclog gutters, and pick up yard debris as well as address any other area that could become a place where mosquitoes lay eggs.
- Make your yard & outdoor living space less friendly to mosquitoes
By keeping your lawn trimmed, clearing out vegetation, repairing or replacing window screens, and disrupting air flow with a fan, you should be able to make your property less appealing to mosquitoes.
Contact Miller Pest & Termite for the best mosquito control this summer!
If mosquito activity is already driving you indoors, contact Miller Pest & Termites for seasonal mosquito control services. When you reach out to our experienced pest control team, we will:
- Perform a thorough inspection to identify mosquito breeding and hiding sites
- Complete an initial mosquito treatment that includes the use of a mosquito fogger to target mosquito hot spots
- Stop back by every month, May through September, to treat your property and keep mosquitoes stay away
Don’t wait for your family to be covered in mosquito bites, contact Miller today!
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