Preventing mosquito bites in the summer in Florida takes a bit of knowledge. We have had over 25 years to learn how to prevent mosquito bites and we will share what we have learned with you.
According to FloridaHealth.Gov globally there are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes, but on 80 of those occur in Florida. Of those – only 50% bite – the females. Female mosquitoes need blood to nourish their developing eggs.
Fact: Mosquitoes are the only creatures alive today that are responsible for the deaths of more humans than humans themselves.
Why do mosquitoes flock to some persons and not others?
Some research as shown that mosquitoes are attracted to certain chemicals produced by mammals. In humans a few of those mosquito attracting chemicals are uric acid, ammonia and lactic acid. Evidence has shown also that “O” blood type can attract mosquitoes more so than (A or B). The main attractant for mosquitoes is CO2. Mosquitoes use CO2 as their primary means of identifying bite targets. So, when kids are running around huffing and puffing, when they sit they are pretty much in a cloud of CO2 and ringing the dinner bell for hungry mosquitoes.
Know When Mosquitoes Are Active
All mosquitoes look for safe places to rest between feeding and mating. These areas are normally, shaded, damp and protected by dense vegetation. Avoiding these areas will help prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are typically most active just before and after dawn and dusk till a bit after dark. They are also less active on windy and rainy days in open areas as they are weak flyers.
Fact: Not all mosquitoes lay eggs on the water surface; some just need very damp spoil.
Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites
1. Keep mosquitoes outside. ... keep doors closed and tents zipped up
2. Stay indoors during dusk and dawn. ...
3. Wear light-colored clothing, especially outdoors. ...
4. Use mosquito repellent. ...
Myth: Eating bananas will not attract mosquitoes and taking vitamin B-12 will not repel them; these are old wives' tales.
What color do mosquitoes not like?
When in the outdoors wear light colored clothing. You have all seen the movies set in the rainforest – everyone has white shirts. The movies got this one correct. Mosquitoes have an attraction to darker colors like blue and black – remember they like dark places. To avoid extra mosquito bites make sure to wear light colors outside. Consider wearing shades of white and khaki. Not only will they help deter the mosquitoes but they will also help you feel cooler by reflecting sunlight.
You can also consider using clothing treated to repel mosquitoes such as:
Note – Mosquitoes can easily bite right through yoga pants and leggings.
Fact: Some mosquito species are specifically leg and ankle biters; they are attracted to the stinky smell of bacteria on your feet, yet another reason to wear clean socks.
What smells do mosquitoes hate?
Many choose to go the natural route when trying to repel mosquitoes. None of these when tested provided more than 25 minutes of protection.
Natural Mosquito Repellents
1. Lemon Eucalyptus
2. Citrus – Oranges, Lemon
5. Lemongrass / Citronella
7. Tea Tree
Wristband products provided no proven protection from mosquitoes when tested.
What Mosquito Repellents Work
The University of Florida has done extensive testing and has found that when properly applied the following products have provided complete protection:
Off Deep Woods 23.8% DEET – 5 hours of protection
Natrapel 20% Picaridin – 5 hours of protection
Sawyer Controlled Release 20% DEET – 4 hours of protection
OFF! Family Care 7% DEET – 2 hours of protection
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent p-menthane 3,8-diol(PMD)2 – 2 hours of protection
Bite Blocker for Families – 2% soybean oil – 1.5 hours of protection
Most gimmicks do not work – Be an educated Consumer!
Fact or Fiction
Is Vicks Vapor Rub good for repelling mosquitoes?
Vicks VapoRub contains cedar leaf oil, which naturally acts as an insect repellent. But it does not last long. However, rubbing VapoRub on the bumps will also relieve your itching.
Relieving the itch of a mosquito bite
* Apply calamine lotion or anti itch cream like Afterbite, or baking soda paste
* Place Icepack on bite for a bit
* Take over the counter antihistamine
The best item we have found to stop mosquito and bug bites from itching is Oragel Toothache Gel – it works almost instantly and we keep in our first aid kits!
Check out our blog on Hiking with Kids!