Made by Nature, Proven by Science: DIY Tips to Stop Zika-Spreading Mosquitoes
By: Rita Stadler
With the local transmission of Zika in the United States, mosquito control and prevention is more important than ever. Protecting your family from pests doesn’t mean you have to bring harmful chemicals into your home. We’ve sorted out the DIY tactics and natural remedies to better inform you with what works, what doesn’t, and how you can get rid of mosquitoes naturally.
Remember The 3 D’s To Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes
The American Mosquito Control Association recommends three key ways you can protect yourself from mosquitoes and the diseases they spread:
- Drain: Mosquito eggs can only hatch in standing water. If there’s no water, there will be fewer mosquitoes. Eggs hatch in 7-10 days, so make sure to change water in pet dishes, bird baths, and kiddie pools frequently. Don’t overlook small puddles either, mosquitoes can hatch eggs in as little water as is held in a bottle cap!
- Dress: Covering your skin can mean less mosquito bites, so wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible. Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes and will help you stay cool and comfortable.
- Defend: The CDC recommends choosing an insect repellent that has been registered with the EPA. These repellents have been studied and tested to ensure safety and efficacy. Look for bug spray with one of the following active ingredients:
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
Stay Away® Mosquitoes is a skin-friendly insect repellent providing up to 14 hours of protection.
Make A Stink To Get Rid Of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes ‘hunt’ their next meal using their sense of smell. They can detect the carbon dioxide people exhale, and use it to zero in on their target. Citronella candles or torches work by obscuring the C02 you create while breathing, but they are only effective if there is little to no wind and you are close to the source.
While they can feed on both people and animals, mosquitoes avoid chickens. The reason mosquitoes don’t like chickens and their accompanying odor is still being studied, however, the effect has been proven. If you have the opportunity to raise backyard chickens, you may enjoy fewer mosquitoes along with fresh eggs!
Some fragrant plants and herbs have been found effective, but results have been inconsistent. There’s no harm in incorporating rose-scented geraniums, lemon balm, basil, lemon thyme, and lemongrass into your yard or garden, but don’t rely on these plants alone to prevent mosquitoes.
Similarly, go ahead and indulge in a little aromatherapy by rubbing richly scented body oils on your skin. Herbal scents like mint, rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus are unpleasant to mosquitoes. Just remember that as the fragrance wears off over time, the mosquitoes will be attracted to you once again.
You may also enjoy spending a little more time by the fire. The smoke from burning wood, especially fragrant varieties like pine, will send mosquitoes searching for a breath of fresh air.
Keep these tips in mind as you savor the last days of summer, and take comfort knowing that the most natural form of mosquito control will kick in as soon as the seasons change!