Anyone who’s had to spend any amount of time in the great outdoors will be familiar with the dreaded mosquito. These pests exists across several continents in one manner or another. In some regions they are particularly dangerous – carrying harmful diseases such as malaria. In other areas, they not be as dangerous – but they can be just as annoying. It’s pretty common for the site around a mosquito bite to become inflamed or itchy. This is because mosquitoes have saliva that they actively transfer to whichever host they happen to be biting at the time. Pretty disgusting, right?
This leftover saliva means that his means that they don’t just run the risk of infecting you with disease – they can also
We have collectively, as a species, had to deal with this nuisance for a very long time. Folk remedies for this issue have existed for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Some have even been proven to be relatively effective, which isn’t always the case for most folk remedies. Some of these remedies, however, are pretty wildly impractical. Which is generally a common theme among folk remedies.
Cracking Down On Mosquitos
Commercially Available Traps / Repellents
If you can’t be bothered delving in to the world of DIY, you might be better off purchasing a trap off the web. There’s an abundance of different types of traps available out there for you to choose from. Lower end traps that use traditional bait and higher end bug zappers litter the internet.
Electronic Bug Zappers
These are among the most effective of traps in terms of what is commercially available. High quality bug zappers will be able to lure in bugs from a reasonable distance and kill them quickly and effectively.
If you’re considering an electronic bug zapper, you should consider the 1TAC Mosquito Lantern. This mosquito lantern is among the best out there on the market. It has a super bright LED headlight with 3 different intensity settings. Each level of intensity will dictate how big of a range you’re attracting bugs from. This means you can set up multiple high intensity lanterns at each corner of your garden and have a lower intensity one closer at hand. This will ensure mosquitoes are too distracted with the other lanterns to bother you. The few stragglers that do end up nearby will get taken out by the lower intensity lantern.
Even if you just buy one, they’re a handy tool for ensuring and would-be pests are kept at an acceptable distance.
They’re waterproof, too. This is always a plus. It means you don’t have to worry about scurrying outside to bring your zapper back in if you leave it out in the rain.
It can easily be recharged via USB cable, so you don’t need to scramble for batteries every time you’re low on power. You also have full control over which features you choose to enable. The bug zapper can be enabled seperately, without the LED light. You can also enable the LED light without the bug zapper. Simply leave them both running to ensure you’re taking out as many mosquitoes as possible.
DEET – Powerful Insect Repellent
DEET is an insect repellent that’s known to be incredibly powerful when dealing with mosquitoes.
Manufactured by the United States army in the 1940s, there’s few other repellents that can come close to this. The “real” name for DEET is “N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide” – which is a bit of a mouthful.
It’s commonly found in a huge variety of insect repellent products and it’s often the core reason they even work.
DEET is designed to confuse insects when they attempt to use their antenna to detect the presence of specific particles in the air. They hunt for prey by using their antennae to find clusters of carbon dioxide in the air. This is an indicator that a large creature is breathing nearby. Once they’ve detected this they go in for the attack. DEET tampers with how their antenna pick up on these plumes of carbon dioxide and can leave them generally quite confused.
This isn’t the only reason DEET works though. When you apply it to your skin it actually creates a sort of vapor based barrier on your skin. This barrier makes it difficult for mosquitoes to land on you, meaning they’re going to have a difficult time getting a bite in.
Incognito Hair And Bodywash
Another solution to conventional repellents is using an integrated bodywash. This is any bodywash which contains products insects are averse too.
Incognito ahri and body wash is an awesome example of this. All of the ingredients are totally natural – meaning there’s no DEET present.
It has a great blend of citronella and tea tree infused, both of which are great natural repellents.
It’s also a pretty good bodywash across the board. It has plenty of nourishing ingredients to keep your skin and hair looking fresh.
You can combine this with a repellent spray such as DEET or other natural repellents for maximum effectiveness. Alternatively you can just use this to give yourself a base level of protection.
Home Made Traps / Repellents
Home made traps are a great solution to those of you who don’t want to splash out on a fancy bug zapper. These traps often use some form of bait to lure insects in and then use one of the many methods of capturing/killing insects. Some traps are non lethal. Some are designed to kill. You can also opt to avoid traps all together and go the route of repellent. Whichever option you choose to use is entirely your own choice to make. Just remember that every time you kill a mosquito you’re also preventing it from having potentially hundreds of offspring.
Baiting insects is a curious endeavor. It’s normally accomplished using some form of scent. This is particularly ironic as insects have no ability to actually “smell” anything. They can however detect traces of particular particles in the air with their antenna, which is basically the same thing as “smelling”. It can actually allow them to be a little bit more accurate in locating the origin of a scent compared to their mammalian cousins. This is why smell based baits seem to work so well.
Below are some popular, cheap, DIY mosquito traps you can make at home.
The Plastic Fermentation Trap
Plastic bottles aren’t the best thing to be throwing out. So why not consider recycling one by turning it into a handy trap? It’s not particularly hard to do so either.
This particular trap works by luring in insects with the scent associated with fermentation. In the wild, this normally means fruit is rotting on the floor which is a great snack for all sorts of insects and even animals. (the animals often end up drunk, rather hilariously.)
You’ll require a plastic bottle to store your bait. You’ll have to cut it in half and turn the top pouring cap inwards to create a sort of funnel. This will make it particularly easy for insects to get in to the bottle, but difficult for them to get out. They’re simply not all that accurate with their flying. You should probably also secure this down with some form of strong adhesive tape such as electrical tape or duct tape. This will prevent any captured insects from escaping.
Your next step should be “sunproofing” your container. The see-through nature of plastic bottles means that harmful UV rays will begin to eventually effect the fermentation process. You can prolong this fermentation process by blocking out the sun. How you choose to do this is up to you. Placing your trap in the shade is a simple solution. But you can also spray paint the outside of your bottles or apply some sort of paper covering.
Your bait will consist of mixing dry active yeast with some hot water and about a quarter of a cup of brown sugar. You don’t want to overdo it with the sugar as this will effect the rate at which the yeast reacts. Not applying enough sugar also means your yeast wont have enough food to continue the process. You’ll also want to make sure you use brown sugar instead of white sugar simply because it’s a little bit healthier for the yeast.
Once you’re happy with your bait mixture, simply pour it into your trap. This will be particularly easy given the shape of your trap.
Don’t place this trap too close to anywhere you’re planning on sitting. It will attract insects at first before it kills them. If your camping simply keep it a good few meters from you. If you’re using it in your garden – simply place it in an unoccupied area of your garden that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic.
The Fan Trap
If have any inclinations towards some basic engineering, this might be the trap for you. You can set up a fan to suck up and trap pests in areas with high insect populations.
You can build a fan trap of any size, as long as you use the same design principles. Just remember that larger fans will necessitate more power. You can build mini fan traps and power them with 9v batteries, for example.
Alternatively, you could build a massive fan trap using an industrial sized fan. But you’re going to need something like a car battery to actually power it for any length of time.
The principles involved in manfacturing a fan trap are actually quite simple. All you need is a fan and some form of containment area to direct insects too after they’ve been caught up by the fan.
One simple solution is to install a mesh net on the front-facing end of a fan. Fans suck up air from behind and propel it forward. So when you attach a mesh net to the front end of the fan you’re ensuring you catch any insects that might have been thrown through the fans mechanism.
You can increase how effective these fan based traps are by throwing bait into the mix. Any kind of sweet or sugary scented product is probably going to work.
Once a considerable amount of the blood-suckers are caught up in your net you can soak it in isopropyl alcohol to kill them.
Once they’re dead simply replace your mesh net or clean the one you already have.
Garlic Traps And Repellent.
We’ve all heard the old wives tale of garlic being lethal to vampires. Vampires may not exist, but garlic is actually lethal to some blood sucking animals, such as mosquitoes.
You can mix up some sugar based bait with garlic in order to attract and poison a wide array of insects, including the aforementioned flying pests.
Garlic can also be used as a repellent for mosquitoes – they’re smart enough to know to avoid it under normal circumstances due to its toxicity. You can soak minced garlic cloves in mineral oil overnight to great a sort of garlic oil. You can then pour this through a strainer and mix it with water and some lemon juice to create a repellent spray.
Some people even swear by simply eating garlic regularly as a natural form of repellent.
Citronella oil is an incredibly effective insect repellent. It’s been registered for use for this purpose since the late 1940’s in the United States. It’s also naturally occurring, which is super handy. Natural insect repellents don’t always have the greatest amount of credibility, but citronella has been scientifically studied and verified for it’s effectiveness.
There’s a couple of different ways you could use citronella as a natural repellent. One of the simplest ways is simply purchasing the essential oil and occasionally applying it to your clothes. You can also manufacture your own citronella candles if you so wish. Candle making is actually pretty easy once you collect the few requisite materials involved in the process. Candle wax and candle wicks can all be procured in fairly large volumes at relatively cheap prices. Heat up your wax in a stove and infuse a modest amount of citronella to ensure you’re getting those insect repelling properties. You can also throw in other scents to keep things interesting – just try to avoid scents that may also attract insects.
If you’re trying to mosquito proof your garden, you can simply grow lemongrass to have a constant natural source of this oil hanging around.
You’re not just relegated to sourcing repellents from obscure plants. There’s a handful of other commonly found scents that mosquitoes absolutely despise. For whatever reason, fabric softeners seem to repel them. This means you can use items such as bounce dryer sheets to keep them at bay. Simply slip one in your pocket and you’re good to go. It’s probably not worth splashing out on these purely to use them as repellents. But if you have some lying around the house or were planning on picking some up anyway it’s definitely worth considering.
The Laziest Trap Possible
By far the laziest trap we’ve found during our research is the beer bottle trap. Simply leave an opened, half empty (or half full) bottle of beer out. Mosquitoes are very much attracted to the smell of beer. They’ll happily climb inside a beer bottle and will struggle greatly to get back out.
This is also why you should be careful if you’re drinking beer outdoors in areas with dense populations of the critters.
Other General Tips
Keep An Eye On Shallow Water
Mosquitoes love to lay their eggs in shallow water. It’s integral to the development of their young. Large areas with shallow water and lots of vegetation and moss are going have the highest density of eggs and as such the highest density of flies.
You can verify just how dense these areas are packed with eggs your self. Simply take some moss and water from a region and seal it in an enclosed jar. You’ll likely notice larvae appearing out of seemingly nowhere within a couple of weeks.
If you’re willing to just take our word for it though, just keep this in mind when you’re setting up camp. Try to set up camp near areas with more drainage if possible. If you’re not camping but you’re worried about mosquitoes on your property – make sure there’s nothing lying around that could collect rainwater. Buckets, bowls, plant-pots etc can all create a perfect environment for these little critters to start reproducing like crazy.
Already been bitten? That’s never fun. If you’re looking to get past the awkward, itchy stage a little bit quicker, you can use a handful of products you likely already have at home. Baking soda is great for neutralizing the itchiness associated with bites. Simply mix with a small amount of warm water until you have a cream like consistency. Apply this cream to affected areas and leave on for about 5 minutes. Once you’re ready simply wash the stuff off thoroughly and you should hopefully have noticed a reduction in the irritation.
You can also soak cotton balls in apple cider vinegar and tape them to affected areas. It doesn’t smell particularly great but it does the jobs.
The most important tip when it comes to harm reduction with bites is to not let them fester. The longer you leave a bit untreated, the more damage it does. One quick once-over with an alcohol wipe is all you need to do in order to ensure you’re not needlessly allowing affected areas to become more of a nuisance than they need to be.
Are Mosquitoes Dangerous?
They can be. Mosquitoes don’t ALL carry disease, but every one you see could be potentially carrying one. In America, West Nile virus is one of the more commonly transmitted diseases by bite. In other countries, you can more commonly see these insects transmitting diseases such as malaria.
One bite could actually kill you, so please take extreme precaution in dealing with these pests. Whilst the odds are relatively low that a bite could be fatal, it doesn’t hurt be safe.
Do Mosquitoes Prefer Some Blood Types?
They actually do. For some reason, Type O blood is the most attractive blood type to mosquitoes. Type B slightly less so and Type A is apparently the least appealing.
Being type O doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have mosquitoes flock to you, though. You also need to be one of the 85% of humans that secrete some form of indicator of your blood type into the air.
If you’ve ever noticed that some of your friends or partners are bitten significantly less or more often than you, this is a contributing factor.
Other factors play in too, though. Everything down to the color of your apparel can contribute to whether or not you get bit.
Can Antihistamines Help Reduce Bite Swelling?
They can indeed. When your body detects some form of infection or intrusion, it produces histamine. This is partially what leads to swelling and irritation as your body attempt to fight off whatever nasty substance it has detected. In this particular case – the substance is mosquito saliva.
Taking antihistamines will reduce the production of this compound in your body and as such lead to reduced swelling. It’s much more effective than many topical remedies, including the natural ones we listed above. For the best results, you should use a combination of antihistamines and topical remedies to ensure you’re not inconvenienced at all by any potential bites.
How Do I Stop Getting Bit In My Sleep?
There’s a handful of different ways you can work towards reduce the amount you’re bit in your sleep. The most simple solution, of course, being a mosquito net above where you’re sleeping.
If this isn’t practical, there’s a handful of other tricks you can use. For example, you can slip a few of those bounce dryer sheets under your mattress or bed. These actually work great to reduce a wide variety of bugs, including bed bugs also.
Essential oils are another solid choice for keeping critters away when you’re asleep.