If you live in Maine, you know that biting insects like mosquitoes are an absolute nightmare plaguing the state, especially if you live near the water. Although many people think it is an exaggeration, mosquitoes in Maine are downright bloodthirsty and veritable clouds of them can be seen hovering near waterfront properties waiting for an unsuspecting victim to come their way.
Reducing your chances of getting bitten by these insects can reduce your risk of disease and irritating bug bites.
Here is what you need to do to protect yourself and your property from these parasites.
Tips on How to Avoid Running Afoul with Mosquitoes
If you like to spend time having fun in the great outdoors, here are some things that you can do to reduce mosquitoes in your yard or prevent them from biting you elsewhere.
Reduce Skin Exposure: To minimize your skin exposure, make sure you wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you go out.
Go Out During the Day: Avoid going into natural settings around early morning or dusk. This is the time when mosquitoes are the most active in Maine.
Don’t Use Fragrances: Do not use any perfume, cologne, or scented lotions that can lead the mosquitoes to you.
Maintain Your Yard: Keep the grass fairly short so that insects have nowhere to hide. Also trim down any unruly bushes or hedges that may be posing as hiding spots for mosquitoes.
Use Mosquito Dunk: Use a mosquito dunk in your birdbath. This ring is safe for birds but kills mosquito larvae.
Wear the Right Colors: Mosquitoes have horrible eyesight so they look for color contrasts on the horizon to find their prey. This means dark colors like black, navy blue, and dark red can make you more visible to mosquitoes as opposed to brighter colors.
Use Mosquito Netting: It is a good idea to invest in some mosquito netting to keep these insects at bay.
Exercise Indoors: Mosquitoes are also attracted to high body temperature and carbon dioxide. This means that if you participate in intensive training in your yard, you will likely get more bites.
Water Management: Empty all objects like planters, kiddie pools or deck furniture that collects water. Mosquitoes breed and lay eggs on stagnant water. Drill holes in pots or containers that hold water. Make sure all your gutters are clean and free of debris to prevent dirty water pooling. Also refresh all sources of water at least once a week to get rid of mosquito larvae. These include bird baths and animal water dishes.
Prevent Access Inside: Mosquitoes have an uncanny ability to sneak past your guard and enter your home. To prevent this from happening, install screens on all your windows and doors and make sure they remain maintained so that no mosquitoes can find their way inside the rips and holes.
Encourage Natural Predators: Birds, bats, frogs, dragonflies, and fish are all natural predators of mosquitoes and all of them can help you control your mosquito population moderately.
Chemical Controls to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
When it comes to protecting yourself from mosquitoes, experts agree that it is dependent on ingredients on the mosquito repellent. The most commonly used mosquito repellents are DEET or picaridin.
DEET (diethyltoluamide) is a topical chemical repellent that is the gold standard for all mosquito repellents. Any repellent which includes at least 20 percent of DEET is very effective in keeping away mosquitoes for many hours.
This chemical had issues like a greasy feel or bad odor, but many manufacturers are now able to overcome that.
Picaridin is a synthetic compound made from pepper plant and is an alternative to DEET. A formulation of at least 15 percent is effective for repelling not just mosquitoes but ticks as well.
Although some people may fear using chemical mosquito-repellents on their skin, the EPA has determined that both DEET and picaridin do not pose significant harm to human or even the environment.
Permethrin is also a chemical insecticide of the pyrethroid family. If you spray a bug repellent consisting of permethrin on your clothing and gear, it will last you for several washes. However, it is not recommended for use on skin.
Natural Mosquito Repellents
If people are still considered about using chemical repellents they can invest in natural mosquito repellents. Here are some of them:
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a synthetic ingredient made from the leaves and branches of the eucalyptus. This formula has been tested in the US and has been found to be 15 to 20 percent as potent as DEET. However, this repellent shouldn’t be used on children under three as limited research has been done on children of those ages.
Essential oils like citronella, rosemary, and cloves have been known to repel mosquitoes. However, they should not be applied to children under the age of three, because despite being natural, they do contain higher toxicity levels.
People think that essential oils are completely harmless, but in reality, this is not exactly true. For example a 15 to 20 percent concentration of oil of clove in a bug repellent will get rid of mosquitoes for you. But it will also burn your skin.
Additionally, essential oils like rosemary are also considered dangerous for children.
These bug repellents also need to be reapplied every hour or so and applied generously so that they remain effective.
Other repellents from plants like garlic and basil also provide limited protection against mosquitoes.
Carbon Dioxide Traps
Mosquitoes are also attracted to carbon dioxide so it can be used to trap these insects. These traps emit carbon dioxide which makes mosquitoes think they are coming from a potential blood source. Female mosquitoes enter these traps, are unable to get out, and die there.
Citronella oil is repellent to mosquitoes; however your candles need to have a high percentage of citronella in it for them to work. These candles can be moderately effective in closed areas with low air movement. However, they do not work as well in open areas since their scent is diffused.
Some mosquito repellent wristbands may be effective in repelling these biting insets and may also be safe to use. These wristbands are worn on the wrist and use a replaceable pellet which emits essential oils fumes. These oils mask the body odor making it difficult for mosquitoes to find humans.
If you want to avoid rubbing chemicals on your body altogether, you can invest in small clip-on fans. These fans are effective in the way that the breeze from them prevents mosquitoes from landing near you.
There are plenty of options you can use if you love to go outside but don’t want to be eaten alive by mosquitoes. If your home has a bigger mosquito problem that can be controlled by you alone, contact us for our pest control and exterminator services in Maine, Portland, Falmouth, Brunswick, Augusta, Lewiston, Androscoggin County, and Cumberland County.