Avoiding Mosquitoes

Aedes triseriatus mosquito feeding/ istockphotoI should be very grateful for living in the UK and not having any problems with mosquitoes. However, I am at heart a sun worshipper and love the heat, and would be happier in a Mediterranean climate, though the big down side to that would be the mosquitoes.

Mozzies or mosquitoes, call them what you will, they can be a real pest and I don’t just mean a nuisance. The fact that their buzzing sounds can keep you up all night (as I discovered on holiday in Spain) and that their bites can be very painful, stressful and a little unsightly is the least of your problems. Mosquitoes are also known to transmit serious diseases through their bites, like malaria and dengue fever.

I have a 2 month old nephew in Thailand and every night his mother has to ensure, as well as everything else, that the mosquito net around him is set up correctly. Bit of an unusual concept to get your head around if you have never lived outside of Europe.

In the US there are about 150 species of mosquitoes, but thankfully only a few pose pest problems, like the Aedes or the Anopheles mosquito.

How to Avoid Mosquitos

If you do happen to live in a country, like the US, where mosquitoes are a real pest problem (though in some southern states more than others), there are some easy ways you can avoid them:

• Eliminate standing water in your yard – water is ideal breeding site for mosquito eggs. Even a small cup full of water is enough, so check your yard.
• Wear light colour clothing – I had not heard this before but apparently mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours
• Use fans – help circulate the air around your home, especially at night. Strangely enough, mosquitoes are weak flyers. This is all the more ironic considering one of the most famous and a successful airplane from Word War II was called The Mosquito.
• Fit fine mesh screens – in your windows and doors, to block off their access into your home and prevent those dreaded bites.
• Control weeds – keep your weeds and vegetation under control and trimmed, especially on or near your property. During the day, mosquitoes tend to rest on low-lying vegetation due to the higher humidity levels.
• Use DEET / insect repellent – DEET is the most widely used ingredient in insect repellent and is proven to be very effective. When my Canadian friend was giving advice on how to avoid mosquito bites when holidaying by one of the lakes outside Toronto, she mentioned DEET. My British friend had no idea what she was talking about, but it seems in North America, DEET is synonymous with insect repellent.

Interesting mosquito fact: it is only the female mosquito that bites. The reason: she needs the protein in the blood to produce her eggs. Gross!

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