Mosquitos love Florida's hot, humid summers, and while they are attracted to some people more than others, they bite indiscriminately.
Worse, mosquitos are more than an annoyance. They can also help serious diseases spread, such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and the West Nile virus. Whether you are going on a camping trip, spending a day at the beach, or just hanging around your own yard, you should do everything possible to prevent mosquito bites—we're here to help with that. Here are 30 sure-fire ways to help protect yourself against mosquito bites.
1. Dump Out Any Standing Water Near Your Home
Eliminating breeding sites is the best way to prevent mosquito bites. Female mosquitoes lay eggs in water. Getting rid of unnecessary water sources on your property is a simple way to interrupt the breeding cycle and reducing the mosquito population in your yard.
Water collects in surprising places. Here are some areas to check:
- Buckets, garden pots and planters, trash cans and lids, wheelbarrows, BBQs, toys
- Gutters; leaves and other debris can trap water
- Drop pans for air conditioning units
- Bird baths
- Rain barrels
- Damp soil areas
- Tarpaulins and pool covers
- Old tires
It only takes a small amount of water to provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you get rid of it, they have to breed elsewhere.
2. Keep Mosquitoes Outside
Catching a mosquito inside a building is hard. The best solution is to keep them out. Install insect screens on your windows and doors. It can also help to make sure your air conditioning unit is screened and sealed. If screens aren't possible, a mosquito net over your bed can prevent mosquito bites at night.
3. Use Mosquito Repellent
Mosquito repellents can be plant-based or chemical and are available in a massive range of products, from citronella candles to body sprays. Generally, the most effective option against biting insects is an insect repellent containing Picaridin, PMD, R3535, or DEET. Apply the insect repellent all over, avoiding your eyes and concentrating on your lower legs and feet and the hands and wrists.
4. Wear Light-Colored Clothing, Especially Outdoors
Dark colors attract mosquitoes, so wear light-colored clothing in buggy situations. Thick material is better for preventing bites than thin clothing, too, and loose clothes can prevent mosquitoes from reaching your skin. A light-colored hat with a mosquito net is a great way to keep them off your head and neck.
5. Stay Indoors During Dusk and Dawn
Mosquitoes' favorite feasting times are early morning and early evening. To prevent mosquito bites, stay inside during these times.
6. Make Yourself Less Appealing
Mosquitoes prefer blood type O and those who drink beer. Mosquitoes are also drawn to carbon dioxide, and they love skin bacteria.
While you can avoid the beer and wash off bacteria, things like carbon dioxide expiration can't be altered—but you can use insect repellent to mask them. Studies have also found mosquitoes avoid some perfumes and natural smells.
7. Try a Natural Repellent
There are quite a few natural insect repellents that work as well as chemical treatments:
a. Lemon Eucalyptus
Australian lemon eucalyptus trees produce oil that mosquitoes don't like. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control endorses lemon eucalyptus as an effective mosquito repellent. Studies show that mixtures containing about one-third lemon eucalyptus are up to 95% effective for several hours.
b. Catnip Oil
Cats love catnip, but mosquitos don't. The oil derived from catnip has been found to be more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitos.
c. Peppermint Oil
Mosquitoes can smell mint from far away, and they try to avoid it. Planting peppermint repels mosquitoes, but crushing mint leaves and rubbing the oil on your skin works even better. If you already have a mosquito bite, peppermint is also a great de-itcher.
d. Lemongrass Oil
The essential oil lemongrass is a natural insect repellent. It can be used alone or combined with olive oil. Studies show it to be extremely effective.
IR3535 has been protecting people from mosquito bites for over 30 years. It comes as a bug spray, stick, oil, or even wipes. It is also safe for all ages and animals.
f. Use a Fan
Mosquitos are not strong fliers, so wind produced by a fan can easily interrupt their route. Fans also help disperse CO2 and other odors that attract mosquitoes.
g. Eliminate Standing Water
Mosquitoes breed quickly—you need to stay one step ahead of them if you want to control nearby mosquito populations. Put lids on garbage cans, tidy toys, keep gutters free of debris, and smooth out tarps. Every home has different places water collects, so find them before the mosquitos do.
8. Preparing Your Yard
Here are some ways to remove mosquito habitats:
- Tip out stagnant water and get rid of places where water collects.
- Change birdbath water regularly and treat swimming pool water with chlorine
- Cut back tall grass and brush to rob mosquitoes of shade
9. Incidental Repellents
Use mosquito repellent when you are in an outdoor area. Follow these rules for effective use:
- Read and carefully follow instructions on commercial mosquito repellents
- Apply repellent to exposed skin
- Avoid insect repellents touching the eyes, nostrils, or lips
- Don't get insect repellent on children's hands, as they could rub it into their eyes or ingest it.
- Don't use repellent on irritated skin
10. Protective Clothing
To protect against mosquitos, wear light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible. For instance, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and loose clothing. Wear mosquito netting on your hat in the deep woods. You might even try repellent-treated clothing. It acts as an insect shield to prevent mosquito bites.
11. Use Appropriate Pesticides
Prevent mosquito bites by treating shoes and clothing with permethrin, a pesticide that repels or kills mosquitoes but is safe for humans because the skin doesn't easily absorb it. Either buy pre-treated clothing or treat it yourself, but be sure only to use EPA-approved products.
12. Use Structural Barriers
Here are some easy ways to create barriers and prevent mosquito bites:
- Install window and door screens and make sure any that are already installed are hole-free.
- Caulk gaps in walls and windows and use weather stripping around doors.
13. Remove Mosquito Habitats
Here are a couple of ways to remove mosquito habitats and make it difficult for them to live in your yard:
- Eliminate stagnant water and take preventative measures to stop water from accumulating
- Cut back brush and tall grass to reduce shadowy areas
14. Avoid Getting Bit
Here are some things you can do to reduce the chances of being bitten:
- Dress in dark colors and cover as much of your body as possible. Tuck your socks into pants because if there's a gap, mosquitoes tend to discover it
- Apply repellents
- Stay indoors at dusk and dawn
- Use mosquito nets on hats. A mosquito net over your bed can protect against nighttime bites. Baby carriers should also have insect nets.
- Use fans, yellow bug lights, and citronella candles or tiki torches
- Ensure screens and other barriers are intact.
15. Maintain Fly Screens to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Home
Well-maintained screens on windows and doors keep mosquitoes outside. Regularly inspect screens for damage. Even a tiny hole can allow mosquitos into your home. Wish you could put a screen around your face, too? You can! Mosquito nets are affordable and prevent bites without fail. It's also easy to carry a mosquito net in your pocket or hiking bag. That way, you can be ready.
16. Avoid Scented Body Products
Some scents repel mosquitos. Others attract them. Some of the best repellent scents are listed above, but many perfumes or body creams encourage mosquitos to fly to you. It's best to avoid wearing scented body products unless you know it won't make you a target.
17. Prune Hedges and Mow the Yard to Reduce Shade
Mosquitoes love the shade—deny it to them by keeping hedges trimmed and mowing the lawn so that the grass is short.
18. Switch to Bug Bulbs
Light attracts flying insects. However, yellow light is more difficult for mosquitoes to see than white light. Switching to yellow bug bulbs could make mosquitoes give your yard a miss and fly to the nearest white light instead.
19. Remove Standing Water
We can't overemphasize this: get rid of standing water, and mosquitoes will have nowhere to breed. See above for advice on where water tends to collect and ways to prevent it from doing so.
20. Treat Water Features
Here are some easy ways to steer mosquitoes away from water features like fountains and pools:
- Run fountains and other water features regularly so that the water keeps moving
- Regularly clean water features
- Grow mosquito-repelling plants, such as rosemary, lavender, citronella, catnip, and mint, close to water features
- Apply solutions of larvicide to interrupt the breeding cycle
- Sprinkle the water with cinnamon
- Add essential oils to the water
- Add mosquito-eating fish
21. Keep Fish Ponds Stocked
Here are three of the best mosquito-eating fish:
- Mosquito Fish: One tiny mosquito fish can consume hundreds of mosquito larvae daily.
- Guppies: These small fish can also consume large quantities of mosquito larvae before they grow into garden pests.
- Minnows: These fish have large appetites for mosquito larvae and reproduce quickly, making stocking a pond easy and inexpensive.
22. Chlorinate Swimming Pools
Applying chlorine to swimming pools doesn't kill mosquitoes, but in conjunction with other pool hygiene measures, it makes swimming pools inhospitable habitats for them. Here are the other pool hygiene measures you should take:
- Run the filter regularly and keeping it running all year
- Cover pools that aren't being used to stop mosquitoes from getting in. Watch out for water collecting on the cover though
- Remove surface debris. An upturned leaf is a great receptacle for standing water
- Clean the pool regularly
23. Call in the Authorities for Large Infestations
If you have a large mosquito infestation, it might be considered a public health risk. The good news is that means the authorities should help you deal with the mosquitos as a method of disease control and prevention.
24. Have Your Yard Professionally Treated
A professional yard service may well think of ways to get rid of mosquitoes that don't occur to you or that involve skills you don't have. Yard professionals can also advise on the placement of mosquito traps and mosquito coils.
25. Run Fans at Ground Level
Mosquitoes are attracted to smells, and unfortunately, some of the smells they like naturally emanate from our skin. Running a fan at ground level blows the smells around, making it harder for mosquitoes to pinpoint their source. The wind from the fans also blows the mosquitoes around and interrupts their flying patterns.
26. Try Lemon Eucalyptus
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also known as PMD or OLE, and it is extremely good at repelling mosquitoes. It is a natural substance produced by trees in Australia, so it is not harmful to people or the environment when used correctly.
27. Try Lavender Oil For a Nicer Scent
Lavender produces one of nature's most beautiful smells—and mosquitoes hate it, so applying lavender oil can make you smell great while keeping mosquitoes away.
28. DIY Neem Spray
Oil from the Neem tree, otherwise known as Azadirachta indica, has been proven to be one of the most effective natural repellents in the world. To make your own Neem spray repellent, follow this simple recipe.
- Take one quart of warm water
- Add 1/3 teaspoon of liquid soap
- Mix well
- Add 1 teaspoon of Neem oil
- Mix again
This makes a mild spray. If you want something stronger, add another teaspoon of Neem oil
29. Try Cloves Spray
Studies show that the oil of cloves is a great mosquito repellent, protecting anyone who wears it for over an hour with just one application.
30. Try a Peppermint and Castor Oil Combo
Castor oil has no smell, but mix it with a smell that mosquitoes hate, such as peppermint, and you have a useful mosquito repellent.
FAQs About How to Prevent Mosquitos
What Is the Best Way to Keep Mosquitoes Away?
The best way to keep mosquitos away is by using a number of methods together. The top five most effective are:
- Using well-maintained screens
- Making sure there is no standing water in your yard
- Controlling brush and long grass
- Use fans at ground level
- Use the right insect repellent
How Do You Keep Mosquitoes Away Naturally?
The top natural oils for keeping mosquitoes from biting you are:
- Lemon eucalyptus
- Tea tree
How Do I Stop Getting Bitten by Mosquitoes?
To discourage mosquitoes from biting you, control your yard and protect yourself. Here's a recap of the six most effective ways to avoid getting a mosquito bite:
- Use screens to stop mosquitoes from entering the house
- Avoid having stagnant water in the yard
- Use a spray repellent that works for you
- Avoid going out at dusk or dawn and keep away from the shadows in your yard
- Wear the light clothing with long pants and sleeves
- Use mosquito netting
What Smells Do Mosquitoes Hate?
Although mosquitoes are attracted to the CO2 that is naturally expelled when we breathe, there are smells we can make it with. Here are the best smell-based mosquito and insect repellents:
- Lemon eucalyptus
Natural Green: Mosquito Control Experts
Don't let mosquitoes stop you from enjoying Florida's beautiful outdoors or chase you from your home. Whether you use a mosquito net, a natural oil, or opt for another way to repel mosquitoes, the methods listed here will help you avoid mosquito bites and the mosquito-borne diseases they bring.
Want to deliver a one-two punch to knock down mosquitoes in your yard? Give us a call for mosquito control treatments in Pinellas or Hillsborough County, Florida.