Mosquito bites are no fun no matter where you get them, and unfortunately for us, North Carolina is a prime spot for them. Read on for 5 ways to keep them away from you and your patio.
I hate mosquitos. Every year I get welts on my arms and legs after spending even the smallest amount of time outside during peak bug-biting months.
Alas, they do actually have a purpose and are important to the ecosystem. Not only are they pollinators, but they are a key food source for many fish, birds, bats, and frogs.
However that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to prevent them from landing on you, your kids, and any guests you have over.
Here are 5 methods to keep these itch-inducing bugs from biting when you go outside.
First up are the tried and true chemical repellents that contain DEET and picaridin.
DEET makes it harder for mosquitos to smell you and is used in popular bug spray brands like OFF! Active Insect Repellent and Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent. It’s been on the market since 1957 and is often the first ingredient experts think of when it comes to effective repellents.
Picadirin based repellents are just as effective as DEET products and often come without the strong smell and greasy residue. According to the New York Times, some of the best picaridin- based repellents are Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent and Ranger Ready Picaridin 20% Tick + Insect Repellent.
There are a surprising amount of garden herbs and essential oil that smell great to us and have the added bonus of deterring those pesky mosquitoes. Lemongrass, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Citronella all contain chemical compounds that drive away mosquitoes by blocking their olfactory senses.
The most effective way to use the herbs is by applying their oils to your skin as you would a chemical repellent. If you have the plants in your garden, you can release the oils by crushing the leaves and flowers and rubbing them over your skin. You can use this recipe to make your homemade spray repellent, or if you’re on the patio burning a few sprigs of rosemary will drive the mosquitoes away from your outdoor space.
Products like Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus are also available if you would prefer not to make your own repellent.
If you love coffee and hate mosquito bites, you’re in luck. According to the Mr. Mosquito Control blog, coffee grounds are a great resource to have on hand when you want to keep these bugs from making a meal out of you at your next cookout.
Like essential oils, coffee smells horrible to mosquitoes but unlike the oils you won’t need to spray yourself with coffee. Simply use dry coffee grounds (fresh or used), put them in a bowl, and light them with a match. The smell and the smoke will keep mosquitoes away from the area around you.
Editor’s note: Coffee grounds are harmful to animals if ingested, make sure to keep away from areas where pets can eat them.
Perhaps one of the most simple solutions on this list is the use of a fan. Not only will the breeze make it harder for them to land on you, it also diffuses the carbon dioxide we breathe out which is known for attracting mosquitoes.
Additionally, mosquitoes are especially attracted to feet and ankles – so you may want to use multiple heights of fans like a ceiling fan and a ground level fan to make sure you are fully covered.
Thermacell Patio Shield
For $40-$50, this product is up to 97% effective at repelling mosquitoes within a 24-foot radius. There are multiple options to choose from depending on the size of the area you want to cover, and each comes with a repellent cartridge that disperses over hours long periods to keep you and your guests from being bitten.
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