Mosquitoes have been ruining nice evenings outdoors for as long as anyone can remember. Fishing trips end and campfires are over when the swatting becomes too much for even the toughest outdoors person to handle. Many products have been invented that claim to repel mosquitoes but how many of them actually work? For that matter how do they work and do these products actually do anything to end the constant slap, swat, and buzz of mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes aren’t all bad; in fact they are only half bad. Male mosquitoes only eat fruit, pollen and nectar, but the female half of the mosquito population is nothing but trouble. The female mosquito is the blood sucker. They are the bugs that interrupt your fishing trip, or your leisurely hike through the woods. Unfortunately, when any mosquito is flying around your head making that unmistakable high-pitched whine it is very difficult to tell which half is getting under your skin.
They tend to hide in tall grass, dark cool forests, under leaves and in weeds almost anywhere. Even during the day someone out hiking or working in the brush may find themselves swarmed by the blood suckers. Mosquitoes will hide in these areas waiting for nightfall when they feed most, but if disturbed will happy start feeding.
Mosquitoes also like to wait out a rain storm or for the morning dew to dry in these areas. Mosquitoes will also seek out shelter as a storm approaches so if you are in the woods and their activity seems to increase you may want to have an umbrella handy.
Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water such as in bird baths, water barrels, stagnant puddles and of course warm lakes and rivers. The eggs hatch into larvae that live in the water until they reach maturity when they rise to the surface and fly away. The larvae are food for water bugs, fish, and most other aquatic species. No wonder they want blood once they leave the pond.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we and other animals exhale as we move through their territory. Various studies have been conducted as to whether or not mosquitoes prefer some people over others but results are still inconclusive. Mosquitoes are attracted to darker clothing and tend to get trapped in hair, behind ears, and under hat brims.
Avoid becoming a target for the blood suckers, by wearing light coloured clothing and avoid the use of floral scented shampoo or perfumes when outside. Hats with mosquito netting do work but are cumbersome when trying to work or do something active outside. Lightweight gloves are great for protecting your hands from bites while fishing or boating in the evening.
In some parts of the world mosquito netting on clothing or even surrounding your bed is absolutely necessary to keep the critters from eating you alive while you sleep or hike. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as Malaria and West Nile viruses so covering up if you are going to be outdoors for a while is definitely a good idea.
Human do have a couple forms of defense against mosquitoes. If you will be moving around fishing, hiking or doing just about anything outdoors in mosquito season spray yourself paying close attention to any exposed skin with a mosquito repellant spray such as Deep Woods Off! or Muskol. Mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies do not like DEET, a chemical used in most bug sprays.
Be sure to spray the back of your neck, face, hands, ankles and hat. Do not get any in your eyes, mouth or up your nose. Try spraying some on your hands and rubbing it on your face for easier application. There are also more environment friendly spray on or lotion based mosquito repellants available as well.
If you plan on sitting at a patio table or being in one spot burning citronella candles will help repel mosquitoes. Citronella is a mostly natural product that bugs don’t like. You can also plant basil near your patio as they don’t like this plant either.
There are also some electronic products such as Thermocell and Clip On by Off! which are reported to be effective at keeping you chemically bug-free, although at a much greater price than citronella or a can of bug spray.
No matter which product is most effective for you, be sure to try the different kinds and have more than one on hand when you go out. What works for you may not work for your companions. Be sure to stock up in the spring as stores will often sell out quickly of the most effective products leaving you stuck swatting and slapping.
Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson