Simple Tips to Help You Control Mosquitoes

Zika may be public enemy number one when it comes to mosquito-borne viruses, but it’s not the only threat these insects pose. Other mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile virus, dengue fever, malaria and Chikungunya also worry public health officials.

Why are mosquitoes suddenly such a public health threat? At the top of the list is globalization; as more people and goods cross borders, mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses are traveling with them. Some experts also blame ecosystem changes like deforestation, soil erosion and man-made ponds and lakes. Climate change may also contribute, as mosquitoes have greater geographic range and a longer season.    
 
While local mosquito control programs may treat bodies of water for mosquito eggs, larvae or pupae and spray insecticides for adult mosquitoes, you can take steps to help. For homeowners, the American Mosquito Control Association recommends:
  • Disposing of items that can collect water like buckets, plastic swimming pools and canvas tarps.
  • Emptying water that accumulates in flower pot saucers, urns and pet dishes every two days. 
  • Changing water in birdbaths, fountains and wading pools every two days.
  • Keeping your rain gutters free of debris. 
  • Repairing air conditioner leaks as quickly as possible.
  • Keeping faucets working properly to prevent water from dripping and accumulating.
  • Filling in drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas in your yard.
  • Using mosquito controllers like space sprays and ULV foggers.
  • Placing citronella candles and torches in your patio and backyard.
  • Using tight screens on your windows, doors and porches.
  • Mowing your lawn regularly.
  • Growing mosquito repelling plants in your yard. Garden Design magazine recommends: citronella grass, catmint, basil, lavender and scented geraniums.
You can help lower your personal risk of contracting a mosquito-borne virus by:
  • Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants while outdoors; particularly, between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Using insect repellent. Apply sparingly and only to exposed areas. Avoid applying on wounds. Be sure to wash off the repellent with soap and water as soon as you return indoors.
  • Selecting insect repellant with an appropriate amount of DEET, the active ingredient in repellent. Typically, higher concentrations of DEET provide longer protection. For instance, a product with 10 percent DEET may be effective for 90 minutes; whereas, 30 percent DEET may protect you for almost six hours. Limit DEET concentrations to no more than 50 percent, as these products do not provide additional protection, just exposure to more active ingredients. Effective alternatives to DEET repellents include products that use IR3535 or picaridin, a relatively new active ingredient that some people prefer because it doesn't leave an oily residue like DEET or irritate eyes like IR3535.     
  • Trying natural repellents if you are pregnant, nursing or are allergic to DEET products. It’s also an option if you are going to be outdoors for a brief period of time, as they do not provide as long of protection as DEET repellents. According to Healthline, the oils of lemon eucalyptus, lavender, cinnamon, thyme, Greek catnip and soybean can help ward off mosquitoes.  
If you are concerned about mosquito-borne virus or any other infectious diseases, consult your MDVIP-affiliated physician. They have the time to work with you to develop a personalized wellness program and lower personal risks of mosquito-borne viruses. If you or a loved one needs an MDVIP-affiliated doctor, click here to locate one.   
12 Comments
andre young
Jul 20th, 2016
I am educated about the zika virus. Excellent information.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jul 20th, 2016
Greetings Andre,

Thank you for the kind words. We’re glad you found the information helpful.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Janusz
Jun 27th, 2016
I also read that bats consume large quantities of mosquitoes. Installing bat houses in the vicinity invites bats to nest there and roam the surrounding areas for night insects, including mosquitoes.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 28th, 2016
Greetings Janusz,

You are correct that bats eat mosquitoes. However, you may want to rethink installing bat houses. Bats are rodents that carry local diseases. For instance, in the United States, bats help spread rabies and histoplasmosis. If you are interested in learning more, this article and video from IFL Science may help. http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/why-do-bats-transmit-so-many-diseases/

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Pat Gilchrist
Jun 27th, 2016
So happy you are keeping us up-to-date and 'in the know'! Many thanks!!!!!! Pat
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 28th, 2016
Greetings Pat,

Thank you for your kind words. We’re glad to help keep you up-to-date.

In Good Health,
MDVIP
Pat
Jun 25th, 2016
I AM THE Mosquito magnet!!! Just tonight, outside on my deck, grilling and one landed on my arm. She met her demise, but they find me so fast! I currently have 5 bites, just from being in the yard last evening for a couple hours. Had Citronella candles going all around me! Good Grief! I need a bubble! Just can't enjoy the outdoors. Hate using sprays but I suppose it's my only choice.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 28th, 2016
Greetings Pat,

We’re sorry to read that you are “mosquito magnet.” Unfortunately, some people are. The advice in the WebMD article may help you -- http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/are-you-mosquito-magnet.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Mary Smyly
Jun 23rd, 2016
Taking a vitamin B1 (thiamine) supplement at 100mg a day makes you smell and taste bad to mosquito's. But check with your doctor first if its OK for you. I have seen little plastic repellant bracelets that had B1 in them too.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 24th, 2016
Greetings Mary,

You should always consult your doctor before taking supplements. And, for mosquito control, your doctor may advise you to skip the thiamine. Results from a study conducted by the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association did not find any of the B-complex vitamins to be effective against repelling mosquitoes. More importantly, be sure to consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

carolee
Jun 23rd, 2016
Since, I understand, mosquitos are attracted to the human carbon dioxide, there is a mosquito trap that creates the carbon dioxide that is called Dynatrap and is sold through QVC.com and look up F11763. Also, look at their video on this DynaTrap. I hope this is of some help to you. Have a good day and stay healthy. Carolee
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 24th, 2016
Greetings Carolee,

We’re not familiar with this product. Female mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide; so, the device may help prevent some mosquito bites. However, keep in mind that experts believe that mosquitoes are attracted to more than just carbon dioxide and have linked mosquito attraction to high concentration of steroids, cholesterol byproducts and uric acid. This WebMD article provides more information. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/are-you-mosquito-magnet

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Dora Manderfeld
Jun 23rd, 2016
I printed the Tips to help control Mosquitoes, the Zika Virus. Thank you.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 27th, 2016
Greetings Dora,

We’re glad to read that your printed the mosquito control tips. We hope they help!

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Betty
Jun 23rd, 2016
Thanks for the info!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 27th, 2016
Greetings Betty,

We’re happy to have provided you with the information!

In Good Health,
MDVIP

nayla mom
Jun 23rd, 2016
read:)
Beth Goldberg
Jun 22nd, 2016
I like the tips for lowering your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 24th, 2016
Greetings Beth,

We’re glad to hear you liked the tips. We hope they’re helpful.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Patricia Friend
Jun 22nd, 2016
Good information!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jun 24th, 2016
Greetings Patricia,

Thank you very much. We hope the information helps you.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

SHARLA
Jun 20th, 2016
aLISHA
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