Patio party weather is finally here — the burgers are sizzling, the kids are running wild in the backyard — and mosquito bites are likely the last thing on your mind until those itchy red bumps make their appearance.
We all want to know how to get rid of mosquitoes. Protect your family and your home by following our six simple secrets for mosquito-free fun under the sun.
From practical tips to prep your yard to bug sprays and plants that repel mosquitos to citronella accessories and more alternative options for bug bite protection, we've got you covered.
Step 1 - Know Your Enemy
Bust those mosquito myths by learning what really attracts mosquitoesIf you've ever wondered what makes you a tastier meal for mosquitoes compared to others, it's not because of your blood, or what you eat. Any advice you may have heard to load up on garlic, bananas, and vitamin B12 does not have any effect on reducing mosquito bites.
So what does draw mosquitoes into your orbit?
Major factors that make you a target include body odour (e.g. perfumes, scented soaps, and shampoos, etc.), movement, and sweat.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to heat and carbon dioxide, a proven fact that helps to make mosquito magnets so effective for luring and trapping.
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Step 2 - Protect Your Skin
How to choose the best bug spray for your family
For active adults and children, knowing how to find the right mosquito repellent is just as important as the freedom it provides outdoors.
The Canadian Pediatric Society and Health Canada recommend applying sunscreen separately first, allowing it to absorb into the skin for 20 minutes, then applying repellent. Combination sunscreen and repellent products should be avoided, as well as citronella oil for use on toddlers and infants.
Be cautious and always read the entire label before applying mosquito repellent skin products. Most importantly, check for each product's recommended age restrictions and limits on how many times they can be applied during the day. Do not apply to children's hands to reduce any chance that it can get into their eyes or mouths.
A little something about DEET: DEET has a long track record of being safe but many people worry that it's not. If you are concerned about DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective.
Citrobug natural mosquito repellents are DEET-free, non-toxic for the environment, and hypo-allergenic. These Canadian-made bug sprays include essential oils that are a mix of lemon, camphor, geranium, eucalyptus, and pine. However, while natural mosquito repellents are preferred for children because they are mild compared to other bug sprays, they also may need to be re-applied more often to protect from mosquito bites.
Step 3 - Turn Your Garden into a Mosquito-Free Zone
Add mosquito-repellent plants to your perimeter
- Lemon grass
- Lemon balm
Using special plants as secret weapons against pests like mosquitoes is not just for experienced gardeners anymore. Consider adding these natural mosquito repellent plants to your arsenal against insect bites on your deck or patio:
The oils and/or distinct scents that come from these selections help to ward off these unwanted insects. Alternatively, they can also be bundled and burned in fire pits, which produces smoke that confuses mosquitoes.
Citrosa geraniums were rumoured to work as a mosquito repellent, however, several studies have proven against their effectiveness.
Step 4 - Find the Hidden Hot Spots
Squash mosquito breeding in your yard before it startsMosquitoes are known for laying eggs in stagnant water, which can be found in more places around your home than you think.
Check all potential areas that can hold standing water for more than a few days at a time. Fountains, ponds, and swimming pools may be the most obvious, but also try to consider any other unconventional sources such as, clogged gutters, birdbaths, pet dishes, and more. Replace tire swings and drill holes to the bottom of any containers that may need to be outdoors. Turn over any empty flower pots, wheelbarrows, watering cans, and other garden accessories to avoid collecting water.
Ensure that all water features in your yard are regularly maintained so that the water is properly treated and kept fresh and flowing. Push brooms can be used to spread out smaller puddles on hard surfaces, while wet/dry vacuums can be applied to larger water deposits. Maintaining a neatly trimmed lawn that is clear of any leaves, twigs, and branches also helps to eliminate any hidden mosquito breeding grounds.
Step 5 - Add Ambience
Also, carefully choose proper clothing and citronella accessories for your outdoor space.
Strengthen your outdoor protection early in the morning or after dark — peak times when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear light, loose-fitting clothing made of tightly woven material and cover any exposed skin as much as possible. Examples can include long sleeve shirts, pants, socks, and closed shoes such as sneakers or flats. Never wear repellent underneath your clothes.
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Step 6 - Secure Your Home
Build and strengthen mosquito barriers for your homeStop these tiny invaders in their tracks before they can enter your home by securing its weak spots. Inspect your windows and door screens for any tears or holes, and patch them up with caulk or screen patches. Weather stripping will also help to seal door gaps for extra precaution. Other entry points that mosquitoes will use to sneak indoors include attic soffit vents, bathroom exhaust vents, and especially the garage.
Decorate your outdoor entrances and windows with special lighting that doesn’t attract mosquitoes, such as LED lights, yellow bug lights or sodium lamps.
In the rare occasion that a mosquito gets inside, they will typically be found resting on the wall or in spaces with low light, such as beneath kitchen or bathroom sinks, in any dark closets, or in the basement.
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