Goodbye Mosquitoes

(Photo: Getty Images)

Living in the Midwest certainly has it's perks. But a 6 month mosquito season is not one of them! Mosquitoes can ruin an afternoon or evening outdoors. There are some simple steps you can take to keep those blood suckers out of your personal space.

Dump or change standing water. Mosquitoes can breed in tiny amounts of water in as little as 7 days.So take a trip around the yard and keep your eye out for anything holding water, dump it out, and turn it over.If you have a bird bath, change the water every 5 or 6 days to stop any potential breeding.And if it’s been awhile since you’ve cleaned your gutters, do it now!Debris and leaves in your gutters will allow them to collect standing water and create the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes around the perimeter of your home.

Wear light colored and lighter clothing. There are varying opinions on whether or not mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing. Some researchers have said that darker colors like black and red stand out more to insects. But mosquitoes are scientifically shown to be attracted to body heat. Darker coloring clothes can retain more heat while lighter clothing is more likely to reflect heat. So it's fair to say you can become less attractive to mosquitoes if you are wearing lighter colored clothing. Also, more breathable, light weight fabrics will keep you cooler on a hot summer day, producing a similar result.

Plant mosquito repellent plants like basil, catnip, lemongrass and lavender. These plants release essential oils that naturally repel mosquitoes. If you aren’t able to plant in your yard, try putting some in pots or planters around your outdoor seating area.If you’re grilling, throw some rosemary on the grill! The rosemary smoke from the grill will repel mosquitoes and flavor your meat as well! Click here to read about how to use 12 different plants to repel mosquitoes.

Essential Oils are another way to keep mosquitoes from biting. Similar to the plants above, rubbing essential oils like lavender, peppermint, basil, and eucalyptus on your skin or clothing can also help repel mosquitoes. Check out this article from MosquitoSquad.com about how to use Essential Oils to repel mosquitoes and treat their bites.

Thin out dense bushes. Mosquitoes like to hide in thick brush during the day. By cleaning up the brush and thinning out thick vegetation, you’re making it harder for those boogers to hide.

Spray your yard. I found this DIY recipe for an organic mosquito yard spray that I’m totally going to try this weekend using Mouthwash, Epsom Salt, and stale beer! It can’t hurt to try it. The hardest part will be letting 3 good beers go stale. Click here for the recipe and instructions.

Mosquito Control Gear. If you’re looking to take the Rambo approach, I found some tried and tested mosquito control gear from thewirecutter.com. After 45 hours of researching mosquito repellents, their top recommendation is the Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent Gen 2.0. It has a rechargeable 6 ½ hour battery and will keep a bedroom sized area free of mosquitoes .If this truly works, I think this could be the best $50 ever spent.

If you do become the unfortunate snack of a pesky mosquito, the best way to keep the itching at bay is to NOT SCRATCH! Which can seem like an impossible task. You can try rubbing apple cider vinegar on the bite. Or even a slice of raw onion or freshly sliced garlic can provide relief. You can also try calamine lotion or hydro-cortisone cream to relieve the itching. An ice-pack or cool cloth will also help reduce inflammation and sooth the skin.

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