The Wedding Planners Guide to Mosquito Control
Summer is a popular time for weddings with many brides-to-be intent on taking full advantage of the season and all it has to offer by holding an outdoor garden wedding. Unfortunately, summer is also mosquito season. And while Winston Churchill probably wasn’t the first person you thought of when you got engaged and started planning for the big day; he knew a thing or two when he said “He who fails to plan is planning to fail”.
Attract, Trap, ENJOY
The one thing you do need to plan for with a summer wedding, especially if it’s going to be outdoors, is mosquitoes. To help create a ‘no-fly zone’ at your outdoor venue, consider a mosquito trap - they work by attracting, trapping, then killing mosquitoes.
Most mosquito traps are designed to catch immediately there are any mosquitoes around however, should be set up at least 2-3 weeks in advance of the big day. That’s because it typically takes that amount of time to disrupt breeding cycles and reduce mosquito populations. This will help decrease the risk of getting bitten as well as the possibility of getting sick from the many diseases mosquitoes carry. Cost, coverage area and guest safety will be some of the factors you should take into account when deciding which trap to use.
Eco-friendly, Mega-Catch™ mosquito traps don’t use pesticides or propane, instead these human mimicking multi stimuli traps replicate the smell and sight of prey, fooling mosquitoes into sensing a blood meal close at hand. When they get near, powerful fans sweep them into the trap’s catch container where they eventually die.
While no one thing is guaranteed to make your wedding completely mosquito free; the use of mosquito traps, repellents and other sensible control measures, should help create a safer, more enjoyable outdoor space for the bride, groom and guests.
Overseas Wedding Venues
Overseas weddings have soared in popularity. There are so many amazing locations around the world, choosing the perfect place for your wedding can be daunting. However if mosquitoes and the diseases they carry are a factor, then you can cross off places like the Caribbean, Fiji, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Thailand and Vietnam, places that have had recent outbreaks of Zika, Dengue or Chikungunya fever.
New Zealand on the other hand seems to have it all; fabulous scenery, wonderful venues and talented wedding industry professionals. Better yet, there has never been a locally transmitted outbreak of mosquito-borne disease in New Zealand
Credit: Moving Films
What to Wear
The majority of brides wear white or cream – the perfect color choice for avoiding a mosquito attack. Mosquitoes have well-documented color preferences and are attracted to dark colors, especially blue and black. So spare a thought for the groom and maybe give a nod to the season AND mosquitoes by replacing that black tuxedo jacket with a natty white dinner jacket.
Make sure that there are no areas of ‘standing water’ where mosquitoes can breed. Birdbaths, buckets, wheelbarrows, pot plant saucers - anything that holds water is a potential mosquito nursery.
Mosquito repellents should be regarded as staple for any outdoor event. The downside is that the majority of repellents tend to leave one looking wet and shiny in all the wrong places. The only thing worse than mosquito bites - photos of the bridal party with noticeable shiny spots.
Off! Smooth & Dry formula is different and comes recommended by those in the know - bridal photographers. Apparently it leaves the skin looking perfectly untouched every time, and better yet, it really does work to keep those bothersome biters away.
The World's Deadliest Animal
If you think all this mosquito prep is a bit of overkill - just consider that the most dangerous creature on the planet is said to be neither the lion nor the shark, but the tiny mosquito. That’s because mosquitoes infect over 700 million and kill more than a million people across the globe every year through the transmission of viruses and parasites.
Are you a Mosquito Magnet?
According to U.S. entomologist Dr Jerry Butler mosquitoes look for the highest rates of human attractants. “Mosquitoes use odor to sort attractive people from the unattractive people to find those that are most tasty.”
What are those attractants? According to Butler, natural excretions through our skin and breath plus skin care products. Many of the ingredients found in cosmetics will also attract mosquitoes and while a repellent may offset that, more often than not, the cosmetics and creams will last longer than the repellents.
Fragrance Free Products Reduce Attraction
Avoid fragrances in soaps, shampoos, and body lotions by investing in some ‘fragrance-free’ products. Strong scents will only attract mosquitoes to you. If you’re having a hard time locating a good range of FF products, check out the baby section at your local drug store or supermarket. Alternatively you can buy on-line. White Rabbit Beauty promotes quality, cruelty-free beauty products and has an extensive range of fragrance free skin-care, hair-care and make-up.
You won’t need to spend a fortune either with products like:
- Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief BodyWash
- Cliniderm Gentle Shampoo and Conditioner
- Dove Unscented Extra Hold Hairspray
- Neutrogena Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer
- Almay make-up
- Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap and anti-perspirant
Emergency Bite Treatment
A bride’s worst nightmare: waking up on the morning of the wedding to a mosquito bite - on the face! It's hard not to scratch, but in the case of a mosquito bite, scratching just causes more irritation. In fact the more you scratch, the more it will itch and the longer it will take to go away. When you rub and scratch you also risk breaking the skin, resulting in an infection or scar. Instead, try patting, or if it's really itches, slapping the area. Dermatologists will verify that patting or slapping stimulates the same nerves without damaging the skin the way scratching does.
To prevent infection as well as reduce the itch, wash the bite with soap and water. Next apply an ice-cube to numb the area and reduce the swelling. Place a towel/face cloth between the ice-cube and skin, and leave in place for up to 20 minutes.
Cover up any residual mark or marks with a yellow-based concealer. Pat on lightly and feather out the edges so you don't have a light ring around the spot, then apply your make-up over the top.
Table Decorations - Light Up and Repel
One of the newest mosquito repelling candles on the market are citronella free. Bite-Lite™ candles contain a unique combination of lemongrass and spearmint essential oils. The company’s test results show that the active ingredients in Bite-Lite® candles repel nearly three times the number of mosquitoes compared to citronella candles. Not only do these candles look and smell great, they repel mosquitoes at the same time. Include them in your table decorations to help keep you and your wedding guests ‘bite free’.
For added insurance include a few marigolds in your bridal bouquet and table arrangements. Mosquitoes find their smell particularly offensive and tend not to go anywhere near them. Yellow and orange are the most common colors however marigolds come in a variety of colors including pinks, reds and creams.
The Perfect Wedding Gift?
What do you get the couple who has everything? Two mosquito traps and a jar of Vegemite, apparently. Well that was just two of the items the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received on their post wedding tour of Canada in 2012.
Zika Virus Distribution
Amid the excitement and stress of wedding and honeymoon planning, many couples don’t give a thought about protecting themselves from tropical diseases. Mosquito expert Howard Carter of Incognito warns; “Honeymooners are risking an unpleasant start to married life if they do not remember to take precautions against malaria and other tropical illnesses.”
The company’s research shows that more than half of people on their honeymoon are bitten by an insect and of these; almost 10% will have their honeymoon ruined because of illness and even hospitalization. 20 per cent – mainly women - will develop scars from the bites.
Malaria is endemic in areas of Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East and some parts of Europe. Zika virus has so far affected 52 countries and was declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization in February 2016. The virus has been linked to an increase in babies being born with abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Honeymooners visiting any of these disease hot spots need to protect themselves against these diseases. The CDC provides up-to-date information, maps and travel advice for anyone planning on spending time in those places affected by Zika virus, malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
In addition to Malaria and Zika, the global incidence of dengue fever has grown dramatically in recent decades with about half of the world's population now at risk. Over the past thirty years 50 dengue fever outbreaks have occurred in Pacific Island countries and territories—some more devastating than others. And in 2011 dengue fever re-emerged in North America after a 50 year absence. There’s currently no vaccine for dengue and experts recommend prevention is the best protection. So whether you’re honeymooning at home or abroad, include a bottle of insect repellent in your bridal tote and it really will be a case of - “Happy is the bride that the sun shines on”. (F.Grose, 1787)