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4 Ways You're Attracting Mosquitoes and What You Can Do To Stop It

Updated on September 18, 2015

Mosquitoes or Mosquit-no's

If I asked you what the most annoying insect during the summer months is, what would you answer? I may be going out on a limb here, but I’d say that for any of you who spend time outdoors, your answer is more than likely the mosquito. Even writing about them right now there’s a buzzing in my ears, a distinct uneasiness in my skin. Mosquitoes are more than obnoxious, they’re blood thirsty little buggers, and the whole reason Jurassic Park happened in the first place (fine, maybe that last bit is a stretch, but still!). Like clockwork, every year when the weather inches higher mosquitoes crawl out of their hidey-holes and wreak havoc on the world as we know it once again. For those of us living with humidity, their appearance is even more pronounced, but luckily for us, there are a few tidbits worth knowing that can stop a mosquito in its tracks.

What Attracts Mosquitoes?

Some people more than others are magnets for the tiny pests, and try every year to keep their bite marks low, but fail miserably to do so. If this is you, first of all I’d like to my condolences, but secondly, I’d like to say that there is hope! Check out this list of what attracts mosquitos and see what you can change to keep out of their way.

Do You Seem To Always Attract Mosquitoes?

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Perfume

If you’re spritzing on the smells right before heading to your friend’s outdoor grill party, then you’re sending out an open invitation to mosquitoes. Floral, fruity, and citrus scents appeal to a mosquitoes' whims, letting them know your blood is open for business. The next time you are about to use that body spray or perfume, think about all of the mosquito bites you’ll be incurring as a result.

Dark Colors

Maybe you’ve wised up and discovered that your perfume is the reason for attracting swarms of the frustrating insect. Perhaps you think, “Hey, if I can’t wear perfume and feel pretty, maybe I’ll wear dark colors,” then you may as well have added a huge arrow pointing above your head. Dark colors, particularly blue, attract mosquitoes more frequently than light colors. This is because mosquitoes use sight, smell, and heat to find a meal. What color do you think their bug-y eyes are able to detect most easily? You guessed it--dark ones. Switch up your wardrobe—it is summer after all—and switch to light colored tops and pants.

Breathing

Stop breathing. No, but really, mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, a substance that we produce when we breathe out. Consider when you’ve been bit the most: was it when you were out for a nighttime run? Were you out enjoying your friend’s fire pit with others? Mosquitoes can sense the change in the air, noting carbon dioxide increases from groups of people or while you pant after a long run. The shift in the air’s chemical makeup clues mosquitoes into the existence of a warm-blooded creature not too far away. This in turn lets them know that dinner is close by. Consider changing your running route, ending somewhere where you can get indoors quickly to catch your breath, this will help cut back on bites. Likewise, avoid large groups while outdoors, as the bubble of CO2 that’s created can act as a hub for mosquitoes.

Age

Like your breathing, there’s not much to be done about the way mosquitoes are attracted to age. No, they aren’t ageist, they’re simply responding to an increase in body temperature, blood, and CO2 produced. The older you are, the more blood you have and the more carbon dioxide you produce. Mosquitoes sense this and seek out larger mammals as a means for their dinner. If you’re a larger person and will be surrounded by children then you’ll be sought out more quickly than those around you. Change your perfume and color-wearing habits to help reduce the chance being bit.

25 Natural Mosquito Repellers

What Can You Do?

In addition to the advice offered above, here are some all-natural ways to fight mosquitoes in the war on your blood.

Sage Bundles

When hosting (or even heading to) an outdoor party with a fire pit, consider getting a bundle of sage to toss on the flames. Not only will the bundle feed the flames, helping to keep the fire burning brightly, but it will also work as a natural mosquito-repellant. Finally, the sage will produce a pleasant smell for your surrounding guests, while helping to keep them free of would be mosquito bites that are sure to leave them uncomfortable in the midnight hours.

Citronella

I remember being a kid and visiting my family’s lake house in Minnesota during the summer. Because of the humidity and proximity to water at any given moment, we would spring from car to house any time we weren’t protected by citronella spray. For those who spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer months, it is likely you’ve sprayed some form of mosquito repellant on yourself. The featured smell of these sprays is citronella, a scent derived from citronella grass, which works wonders as a repellant. Yet, while those sprays work well for a time, they are infused with chemicals, which is why I’d recommend investing in natural citronella oil and dabbing it to your skin. Apply to those places you’d dab perfume (the inside of wrists, the neck, behind the knees) and generate the most heat, projecting your citronella scent.

Because citronella is a grass that is considered to have little to no toxicity levels, you can plant it in your backyard. The heat from the summer will trigger the natural oils of the grass and provide an outdoor ring of protection from mosquitoes that might otherwise make your yard their home. Seek out natural citronella candles and oil that can be used in your tiki-torches or on patio tables, to provide your family with an added bubble of protection.

Garlic

Did you know that the vampire myth is derived from the mosquito? Okay, so maybe that’s a lie, but regardless, the blood-sucking cousin of the vampire, the mosquito, is equally as repulsed by garlic. If you plan on working outdoors for any length of time during mosquito season, then try rubbing crushed raw garlic onto your skin. The scent will repel mosquitoes, keeping them away from you while you work. If you’re turned off by the idea of smelling like garlic, try eating it frequently in dishes throughout the summer. Garlic is known for creating a subtle smell on those who digest it often enough, seeping out from the pores in soft, unnoticeable (at least to humans) ways.

Avoid Mosquito Happy Hour

Mosquito happy hour is the time of day in which mosquitoes are most active. This is usually during dawn and dusk. Avoid these times of days to keep from coming across mosquitoes in full-force. Instead, wait until the sun is higher in the air or completely gone from the sky. While mosquitoes will still be around during these times of day, they are less active and more sluggish, meaning they’re less likely to strike and feed from your skin.

There is no 100% guaranteed way to avoid getting bitten by a mosquito. Even the most careful of families can let one slip into the house, causing problems for the entire house in their sleep. In all, an effective strategy is an active one. Wear light colors, stop wearing perfume or using overly floral hair shampoos for the time, add an all-natural mosquito repellant to your outdoor fire pit to keep yourself and guests safe.

What do you think?

What tips and tricks do you have for keeping mosquitoes at bay?

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    • Kelsey Farrell profile image
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      Kelsey Elise Farrell 2 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I definitely agree--you hear all the time about malaria or west nile making its way to the states and its usually attributed to mosquitos. The further away they stay from me the better!

    • Happy Moment profile image

      James 2 years ago from The Eastern Bypass

      Mosquitoes are always nuisance especially during the dry season. Malaria is a life threatening disease transmitted by these small insects. I don't like them at all. But the idea of applying repellents is good as it keeps them away. A very informative article. Thank you

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 2 years ago

      My system is conditioned to squash them and it works right during the mosquito season. I am alerted when their drilling equipment is well anchored in my epidermis! When that happens they cannot escape the automated mechanism which squashes them!

      However some get into stationary orbit near my ears and never opt to sting. That's the only problem I have with mosquitoes. I believe it's the male of the species that, some say never stings.

      I shall try some of the repellants that you have suggested. ¡Muchas gracias! ...... Have a nice day!

    • Kelsey Farrell profile image
      Author

      Kelsey Elise Farrell 2 years ago from Orange County, CA

      David, thanks for the kind words. Yes, it's kind of gross to think about but certain foods can be smelled through our skin, meaning that we can avoid finding ourselves surrounded by mosquitoes (or other similar bugs) if we're careful.

    • profile image

      DavidfromMinsk 2 years ago

      Really enjoy reading your hubs! Great article and tips here! Also good to note that eating certain foods that are salty or high in potassium (like garlic) can also affect if mosquito's bite you. They can smell it through your skin! Just in case you don't feel like crushing and rubbing garlic all over yourself :)

    • Kelsey Farrell profile image
      Author

      Kelsey Elise Farrell 2 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sorry to hear about the mosquito! I've found that sage helps a lot in my own home and like I mentioned, the always popular citronella seems to be a big hit. I hope these suggestions help!

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 2 years ago from Southern Spain

      As I was dive bombed by a mosquito in the early hours of this morning here in Spain I was interested in reading your hub which I enjoyed ! I have mint growing but that doesn´t seem to help so will look into growing something else