How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are a real nuisance, as many of us have experienced firsthand. They’re most active at dawn and dusk, just when we might want to enjoy a sunrise or sunset. They also have specific nerve cells that detect the carbon dioxide we (and all other mammals) exhale. Just our being alive attracts them. They also can zoom in on moving objects and heat sources, so hot-blooded mammals and also birds are easy targets.
When a female mosquito lands on our bare skin, it uses its proboscis to pierce our outer defense and feed on our blood. It then injects some saliva, which acts as an anti-coagulant. This eventually causes a histamine reaction in our body as our immune system reacts to the attack. The result is a swollen, itchy, and sometimes painful red bump that can last for a week or so.
In prior years, we could put up with mosquitoes as just a nuisance and deal with a week of itching if bitten. But we now must take action to prevent mosquito bites and thereby prevent contracting a number of very serious illnesses.
Mosquito Control Methods
There are many options for killing mosquitoes while still enjoying the great outdoors. Here are 5 possible interventions you should consider to help get rid of mosquitoes:
1. Mosquito Candles
Mosquito candles are specially designed to include citronella oil and/or geraniol. Citronella oil is found in lemongrass and geraniol is found in geranium oil. Researchers have been investigating the insect-repellent properties of these compounds for many years.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that Citronella oil has been known as an insect repellent for over 50 years. Studies conducted by researchers at the University of Florida suggest that geraniol can also be an effective insect repellent.
Mosquito candles are designed to burn for up to 36 hours, and while the oils they burn do help stave off mosquitoes. Researchers at North Dakota State University suggest that the candles are not effective in open areas. That’s common sense because the odors emitted from the burning candles in an open space are blown around with the whim of the wind. If you’re upwind from the candle, you’re out of luck.
Newer candles called Conceal Candles burn a substance - a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved food additive - that effectively prevents mosquitoes from smelling. The substance binds to the mosquito’s olfactory receptors, making it much less likely for them to find you. But you still have to place enough of these candles between you and the wilderness, and you’ll still want to use other methods for killing mosquitoes while using these candles.
2. Bug Zappers
Bug zappers have been around more than 100 years. Popular Mechanics published a design of an “electric death trap for the fly” in 1911, but it wasn’t patented until 1934. Modern zappers work by attracting the unwanted bugs with a fluorescent light. Surrounding the light is an electrified wire mesh.
When a bug is attracted to the light and flies toward it, the hapless insect eventually comes in contact with the wire. The voltage in the wire is sufficient to kill, if not obliterate, the bug.
The problem with using bug zappers to thwart mosquitoes is that it’s unclear if mosquitoes are really attracted to them. In one study, researchers from the University of Notre Dame showed that mosquitoes represented about 5 percent of the insects killed by a zapper, but there was no significant difference between the number of mosquitoes in yards that had or did not have zappers.
Based on the evidence, it’s best to consider approaches other than zappers to protect yourself from or kill mosquitoes.
3. Mosquito Repellent
One of the more effective ways to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes is to use a proven repellent. The most common of these in the United States includes the chemical N,N-diethyl-3-meta-toluamide, better known as DEET.
DEET is probably the most studied chemical compound used to help avoid mosquito bites. Personal sprays and creams are available with DEET concentrations ranging from 5 percent to up to 100 percent. The duration of effectiveness increases with the concentration.
You have to apply DEET-based repellents carefully, being sure to cover all exposed areas and avoiding eyes and mucous membranes. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicate that swallowing small amounts may results in nausea and vomiting, while larger ingestions may result in low blood pressure and low heart rates.
But worse, ingestion in large amounts has been shown to cause neurologic problems. These can include seizures and falling into a coma, which can result in death. This concern is obviously great for small children, who may unwittingly consume the repellent directly or indirectly by repeatedly putting their hands in their mouths. The NIH reports that small children may suffer seizures simply from consistent skin exposure to DEET.
Certain sprays can be used as repellents to keep a limited area free of mosquitoes for a limited time. Some of these use DEET while others rely on different repellents. A typical area of effect for these repellents is about 225 square feet. That’s about 15 feet by 15 feet.
If you are camping and restricting your movements to your campsite, 225 square feet might do it for you. But if you expect to protect a larger area, you’ll need more spray or more devices that distribute the repellent, and you’ll need to keep in mind how long they may stay effective.
4. Mosquito Nets
Nets are a cheap way to put a barrier between you and mosquitoes. But they’re not particularly portable. Nets can be useful to protect you while sleeping in a bed or sleeping bag, and while eating, but they aren’t really going to be a general solution to the mosquito problem.
What’s more, every time you leave and enter your netted area, you are exposing that area to the possibility of mosquito invasion. It’s great in theory to think that the net will keep all the mosquitoes out, but in practice few people likely have the patience to stay under their nets all the time. Essentially you become something of a prisoner under the netting, itching to escape.
In addition, you may find that a net may be damaged and have holes that are large enough for mosquitoes to come and go. In that case, you may reduce your exposure by using the netting but not eliminate the possibility that you’ll be on the dinner menu.
5. Mosquito Magnet® Trap
A nice alternative that addresses many of the problems indicated above is the Mosquito Magnet® Trap. This is the leading long-term solution that’s scientifically proven to safely and effectively control mosquitoes. More than 18 years of research and patented technology make this approach to stopping mosquitoes revolutionary.
The trap is powered by propane. It converts the propane to carbon dioxide (Co2) and then emits the gas from the trap with the right balance of heat and moisture to mimic our own exhaled breath. This lures the mosquitoes to the vicinity of the trap.
A secondary attractant is used to bring the mosquitoes directly to the trap. These attractants differ depending on your geographic location, but once in the vicinity of the trap, mosquitoes are sucked inside by a vacuum located near the exhaust vent. It’s called CounterFlow™ Technology. The mosquitoes cannot escape the trap and eventually die of dehydration within 24 hours.
One of the great advantages of the Mosquito Magnet® trap is the area of coverage: Up to 1 acre! That’s approximately an area 210 feet by 210 feet or about three-quarters the size of a football field. It’s truly impractical to attempt to get rid of mosquitoes in an area this large by any of the previous methods.
Some models of the Mosquito Magnet® trap offer different modes to help save propane use, while the top-of-the-line Mosquito Magnet Commander model includes a Wi-Fi feature that allows you to monitor the trap status via email or text messaging.
The trap should be placed in between mosquito breeding areas and your access areas. Ideally, it should be placed upwind from the breeding area so that mosquitoes that have fed and then drift downwind will wind up closer to the trap.
You won’t want to place the trap close to yourself or others because the idea is to draw the mosquitoes away from people and toward the trap. You’ll want to place it in an open area to increase the exposure of the carbon dioxide as it flows from the trap. You want to give mosquitoes the best chance to find the carbon dioxide.
Finally, you’ll want to place the trap in a shady spot if possible. Mosquitoes tend to avoid direct sunlight, so you’ll maximize the odds of catching them around the clock if your trap isn’t in the heat of the sun.
Choose the Best Option to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
You have many options to help you kill mosquitoes and in turn avoid the diseases that they transmit. These include the following:
- Candles that burn repellent
- Bug zappers
- Repellent sprays and creams
Bug zappers can work effectively on flies and other bothersome insects but are generally ineffective against mosquitoes. Repellent-burning candles are a better choice, but offer only limited protection in a small area or downwind of the candle.
Nets are more reliable, but while they are doing the job of keeping mosquitoes from getting to you, they also prevent you from getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors.
Repellent sprays have only limited effectiveness and work for a limited duration in a small area. Using DEET-based or other effective repellent creams on exposed skin may be a much better solution, and the duration of protection can be determined based on the concentration of the repellent in the cream.
Still, personal repellent creams come with downside and risk. You have to cover all exposed areas to be effective, and it’s crucial to avoid getting the repellent in your eyes, mucous membranes, or ingesting it. DEET poisoning can range from unpleasant nausea and vomiting to serious conditions including seizures, neurological disorders, and even death. If you use DEET, use the minimum required concentration that helps protect you.
A Long Term Solution: Mosquito Magnet®
Mosquito traps, like the Mosquito Magnet®, are a good alternative to the other methods for treating an open area. The traps emit carbon dioxide and are regulated for heat and moisture. This attracts mosquitoes to the trap, where they are sucked inside and eventually die.
The Mosquito Magnet® runs on propane, which is a cheap and easy-to-manage fuel source. You’ll only need to replace the fuel source once every three weeks, along with the attractant and the net that catches the mosquitoes.
Most importantly, the Mosquito Magnet® trap can address mosquito populations, not just individual mosquitoes, and break the mosquitoes’ breeding cycle.
When using a trap, it’s good to start the trap before mosquitoes start to breed. Mosquito eggs start hatching when the temperature consistently exceeds 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That means the farther south you are in the continental USA, the earlier in the year you’ll want to start your trap.
If you’re in Southern Florida, you should begin in February, about the same time spring training for baseball starts or a little sooner. If you’re in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you can probably wait until early May.
Check out our fun infographic to get rid of mosquitoes from your home. Here are some simple things you can do around your home to eliminate mosquitoes from your yard. Click on the image below.
For more information, compare our traps or visit the Mosquito Magnet® store.
Mosquito Infestation Prevention: What You Need to Know
Mosquitoes are a huge nuisance, but they’re a lot more than just annoying — they can also be deadly. In fact, Smithsonian magazine points out that each mosquito-borne illness kills 725,000 people, making them the most dangerous animal on earth. On farms, mosquitoes can harm livestock and other animals.
A few mosquitoes are always unpleasant, but when an infestation happens and lots of mosquitoes are suddenly flying around an area, the risks are even greater. More mosquitoes mean a higher risk of a mosquito-borne disease epidemic, and the chance for multiple bites is higher. Mosquito prevention — especially infestation prevention — is key to preventing these kinds of dangers.
Unfortunately, mosquito infestations can easily take place just about anywhere where mosquitoes live. Mosquitoes lay a lot of eggs and reproduce very quickly. A female mosquito can lay 100 to 300 eggs at a time or about 1,000 to 3,000 eggs during her lifetime (which can last up to 100 days). The eggs themselves will turn to grown mosquitoes in less than a week.
Most mosquitos will stay within one mile of where they were born, although some will fly miles away. This means that just two mosquitoes laying eggs in your unused birdfeeder can produce about 600 new adult mosquitoes in a week. If half of those are female, you can have 300 mosquitoes laying 30,000 to 90,000 eggs in a week or so after that!
What Is a Mosquito Infestation?
A mosquito infestation happens when there is a sudden increase in the number of mosquitoes — to the point that they start causing significant numbers of bites in residential areas or damage on farms. You probably don’t need to be told whether you have an infestation on your property. If you find yourself itching bites every day or can’t step outside without having mosquitoes buzzing around you, you may have an infestation. If you live on a farm, you may notice livestock and horses affected by bites or with specific illnesses that have been transmitted by mosquitoes.
Why Do Infestations Happen?
In most cases, infestations happen during warm weather, often after heavy rains or a flood. At first, the heavy water may wash away mosquitoes and their larvae, but once some of the water dries up and becomes still, the mosquitoes have the perfect conditions for breeding. With so many new mosquitoes born, natural predators can’t get rid of all of them, and this leads to infestations.
Am I at Risk?
Mosquito infestation can happen anywhere where mosquitoes live, but your location will determine how much risk you face. Hot, damp climates are more likely to attract mosquitoes and provide the perfect breeding grounds that could pave the way for an infestation. Areas with dense bushes, grasses and trees (including park areas) can also attract mosquitoes, and infestations are more likely in areas where flooding and heavy rains take place. Coastal areas are usually fairly protected from mosquito infestations, because mosquitoes don’t do well with breezy weather and winds.
There are more than 150 types of mosquitoes in the United States. Given the right conditions, any of them can breed enough to create an infestation.
A mosquito-infested yard is more than just a nuisance — it can have a very real impact on your health. Many mosquitoes can also expose you to a number of mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile Virus and Malaria. An infestation can make it harder to avoid bites. In some cases, infestations can lead to fatalities. A severe mosquito infestation in 1982, for example, spread encephalitis across the country’s southwest region, killing two people as well as thousands of birds and dozens of horses.
Preventing a Mosquito Infestation?
Preventing a mosquito infestation starts with a comprehensive mosquito treatment plan. You should:
1) Take a look at the bugs you have.
Many insects can look like mosquitoes. Before you try mosquito removal solutions, make sure that your property actually has mosquitoes and not another type of insect entirely. Take a close look: Mosquitoes have wings with scales and long, thin bodies. They also make a distinctive whine when they fly around.
2) Zero in on your landscaping.
Mosquitoes are attracted to shady spots and lots of leafy, wet leaves. If your garden is overgrown, you’re more likely to have mosquitoes. If your yard has lots of trees or a swampy, wet area, you’re probably attracting mosquitoes. The same rule applies if you water your plants often, which leaves them wet and attractive to the insects.
You don’t have to make your yard into a concrete playground to get rid of mosquitoes, but you can keep bugs at bay by trimming hedges back and regularly mowing your lawn. Consider wide expanses of very trimmed lawns rather than lots of bushes and tall plants. If you do have a large lawn, pick up trimmings after mowing to avoid attracting pests.
Watering your property is another danger area. If you overwater or have a sprinkler system, you may be creating runoff that attracts mosquitoes. Always water your lawn or yard with a garden hose and aim only for the roots. Do not overwater and use good irrigation so that extra water doesn’t stand around.
3) Be ruthless about eliminating standing water on your property.
Standing water is public enemy number one when it comes to infestations, because mosquitoes usually lay their eggs in unmoving water. A pond or even large puddle can provide the ideal conditions to produce thousands of mosquitoes — or more — in just three to seven days. It really doesn’t take much time for an infestation to happen, especially in hot and damp climates. There are lots of places around your property that might have standing water:
- Ponds - If you want a pond on your property, install a source of flowing water.
- Debris - Even pieces of plastic or bottles can capture water after a rain shower and provide enough space for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Keep your yard free of any clutter.
- Lawn and garden ornaments - Any ornaments that have a flat or curved surface can trap water. Make sure any ornaments in your yard allow water to run off freely.
- Buckets - Store buckets upside down so they can’t collect water.
- Tarps -If you have tarps covering a car, barbecue or anything else, the tarps can collect water. Consider storing these items in your garage or the sun, where the heat will evaporate moisture. You can also shake off the tarp every few days.
- Birdbaths - Try birdbaths that have flowing water (such as a fountain) or change your birdbath water every few days. Flooded roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce hundreds of mosquitoes each season.
- Water fountains that aren't flowing - Any stagnant water can attract mosquitoes, so rinse out the fountain every few days or get it started again.
- Outside faucets - Make sure that any outdoor faucets don’t leak.
- Rain gutters - Clean out rain gutters regularly as debris can trap water.
- Leaky pipes - Fix any leaky pipes to prevent puddles.
- Old tires - Store tires in the garage or cover with a tarp that can be shaken every few days. If you have old tires (used for swings, for example) drill holes on the bottoms so water can escape.
- Rain barrels - Cover rain barrels with a fine mesh to prevent mosquitoes.
- Pet dishes - Water in outdoor pet dishes should be replaced every few days. You can also set up a pet fountain that will keep the water moving and prevent mosquitoes.
- Tree stumps and fallen trees - Fallen trees, tree holes and tree stumps can all become damp and rotten. They can also be a place where water pools and mosquito eggs can hatch. You can drill holes in the bottom of a tree hole or along the sides of a tree stump to ensure water doesn’t collect. You can also have old stumps and trees removed to discourage mosquitoes, termites and other pests.
- Puddles - Fix potholes in your yard to prevent puddles from forming.
If you see any squirming worm-like creatures in standing water near your home, these may be mosquito larvae. It only takes a few days for them to become mosquitoes that can bite you, so take action right away.
If there is a naturally occurring pond near your home or other standing water that can’t easily be removed, you can apply larvicides containing Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti for short) to the water. This will kill the mosquito larvae, but it can also harm other living creatures. You’ll want to consult a professional before you try larvicide. Keep in mind, too, that you’ll need to keep applying larvicide as long as you have standing water near your home, so this can become a time-consuming and expensive process.
4) Take steps to handle infestations that come from nearby areas.
You might eliminate all the sources of standing water on your own property, but what happens if your neighbor has a big container of uncovered rainwater next to his or her gutters? What happens if you live near a park that has a bog and lots of trees? Even if you take all of the right steps for controlling the mosquito population on your property, neighboring properties may create the perfect conditions for an infestation.
If you notice a lot of mosquitoes near your property, you might want to talk to your neighbors. Let them know about the dangers of mosquitoes and tell them how they can find and get rid of mosquito breeding grounds. If it’s a bad year for mosquitoes, it might be time to get your homeowner’s association involved or call for a neighborhood meeting to discuss the problem. Working together is the best way to eradicate mosquitoes.
If you live near a park or public land that has lots of mosquito breeding grounds, you can write to your city authorities to alert them to the problem. You can write to your elected representatives, too, to let them know about the issue and the health dangers it poses to the community.
Ultimately, though, you might find that the city or some of your neighbors do not want to take steps to reduce the mosquito population. If this is the case, consider mosquito traps. Mosquito traps from Mosquito Magnet® emit a steady and constant stream of carbon dioxide, moisture, heat and other attractants. When mosquitoes fly close, thinking they might feed, a vacuum sucks them up and into a net, where they dehydrate and die. Even if you cannot get rid of all the mosquito breeding grounds on or near your property, a Mosquito Magnet® trap can drastically reduce the numbers of mosquitoes near your home.
5) Consider natural mosquito control.
There are a few ways to make your property less attractive to mosquitoes:
- Plant species that repel mosquitoes — Citronella and marigolds discourage mosquitoes. They won’t do much against an infestation, but you can plant these species and use other mosquito control measures to gain some control over your yard.
- Make your property breezy and sunny — removing wind covers and encouraging lots of sunshine in your yard creates conditions mosquitoes do not like and can help you reduce mosquitoes, especially during the day.
- Light your property with yellow incandescent outdoor lights or fluorescent outdoor lights — These are less attractive to mosquitoes.
- Encourage predators — some dragonflies, frogs, bats and birds eat mosquitoes. You can put bat houses or bird feeders in your yard to encourage them onto your property. If you’re battling an infestation, however, these animals might not eat enough to reduce the mosquito population. Experts also say that bats and birds eat a varied diet and might not eat mosquitoes if their populations aren’t huge or other food sources are nearby. Dragonflies and frogs usually live near stagnant water, so you can’t entice them into your yard without creating the conditions that’ll also attract mosquitoes.
6) Take steps to prevent mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes themselves aren’t really the problem — their bites are. If there seem to be lots of insects near your home, you can take these steps to avoid getting bitten:
- Use mosquito nets at night
- Check your screens for rips or tears
- Use screens with all of your windows and doors
- Use repellents when going outdoors and wear long-sleeved clothing to protect your skin
- Use air conditioning indoors to keep the air moving and cool, which will discourage mosquitoes
- Avoid being outside during dawn and dusk, when most mosquitoes are active
It’s especially important to take these steps if there’s an infestation in your area or reports of mosquito-borne diseases in your community. At the same time, keep in mind that it’s a numbers game. If there is an infestation, there will be lots of mosquitoes, and your chances of bites will be much higher. Eliminate the number of mosquitoes with traps or other methods to reduce the risk of bites in the first place.
7) Set Traps.
One effective mosquito treatment for your yard is a Mosquito Magnet® trap. Even if you eliminate all of the standing water on your property and take steps to prevent bites, mosquitoes can still be entering your property from nearby areas. Traps are a long-term solution that can help greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes around your property.
Mosquito Magnet® traps immediately start controlling the mosquito population and may break the mosquito breeding cycle within four weeks. Designed using scientifically proven technology, they work simply: the trap converts propane to Co2 (carbon dioxide) and then emits a steady and precise dose of carbon dioxide along with an attractant, moisture and heat. This attracts mosquitos to the trap (and away from you), where they are drawn into a net with a vacuum. There, the mosquitoes dehydrate within 24 hours.
Mosquito Magnet® traps work by eliminating significant numbers of female mosquitoes, which means these mosquitoes cannot reproduce. Just like natural predators, which help control mosquito populations by eliminating some of the adult insects, the traps work by reducing the numbers of insects that can breed, ultimately reducing the number of hatching mosquitoes. Unlike natural predators, however, the traps keep catching and eliminating mosquitoes, doing a more effective job than a few birds or dragonflies could.
Are You Dealing with Mosquitoes on Your Property?
If you find more mosquitoes bothering you while you are trying to sleep at night or enjoy your garden during the day, you’re not alone. Scientists say that with global warming, there are more mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses than ever before — climate change is creating perfect mosquito breeding grounds.
Fortunately, there are solutions to a sudden increase in mosquito populations. Reducing standing water and taking steps to prevent bites can help. However, traps are a long-term solution that can reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard. You will not only enjoy your property, but you will be doing your part to keep you, your family and your neighbors safe.
Female Mosquitoes Cause Bite Allergies
The female mosquito bites her host to get a blood meal, but the blood is not nourishment for her. She needs the nourishment for her eggs. Females have a syringe-like appendage that they use to penetrate the skin and inject saliva into your bloodstream. The saliva contains a protein that prevents your blood from clotting, so she can get a good meal.
The anti-coagulant protein is an allergen that mixes with your blood, causing the swelling, itching and redness in the bite area. The degree of itching and discomfort caused by mosquito bites can vary by person, and some people may not be bothered by the bite at all.
Male mosquitoes do not bite people or animals. They get their nourishment from plant juices. Plants contain nectar and other sweet juices that male mosquitoes feed on instead of people.
Mild Mosquito Bite Allergies
You can expect redness and itching after a mosquito bite, and this is the most common reaction for most people. For some, the effects aren’t felt until after several bites, but others may start itching and notice a small lump right away.
Mild mosquito bite symptoms can include any or all of these reactions:
- A white puffy bump minutes after a bite occurs
- Swelling around the bite area.
Itchy feeling that lasts a couple of days
- You can treat mild mosquito bite reactions at home. Mosquito bites generally stop itching on their own, but you can apply calamine lotion or a topical hydrocortisone cream to the affected area if itching persists.
Moderate Mosquito Bite Allergies
If you or a family member has an immune disorder, a mosquito bite may cause more of an allergic reaction. If you have a moderate reaction, you may have one or all of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 101° Fahrenheit or lower (low-grade fever)
- Swelling and redness that affects a large area
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
You can treat these symptoms with antihistamines for itching and hives, and ice for localized swelling and redness.
Severe Mosquito Bite Allergies
Severe reactions to mosquito bites may require medical treatment. They can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment.
People with a severe mosquito allergy can have some or all of the following symptoms:
- Blistering lesions
- Large hives and joint swelling
If you know you have an allergy to mosquito bites, it’s important to seek treatment immediately. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include the following:
- Throat swelling
- Localized hives
- Swelling of the eye, tongue or face
Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to mosquito bites should carry an Epi-Pen. This way, epinephrine can be injected while waiting for emergency medical professionals to arrive.
Skeeter syndrome is a type of mosquito bite allergy. It’s rare, and it mainly affects young children, people with autoimmune disorders, and others who have not previously been exposed to mosquito bites.
Skeeter syndrome can produce many uncomfortable symptoms, such as the following:
- Red lump in the bite area
- Large bumps and swelling in different areas than the bite area
- Severe itching
- Blisters and bruising
- Infection from scratching
- Asthma (occasionally)
- Anaphylaxis (rarely)
These symptoms may appear immediately or a few hours after a bite. Skeeter syndrome is often misdiagnosed as cellulitis, which is a bacterial skin infection that causes inflamed, red skin. Cellulitis requires antibiotics to cure it, while skeeter syndrome does not.
Skeeter syndrome symptoms can last for several weeks. You can treat mild cases of skeeter syndrome at home by taking the following steps:
- Clean the blistered area carefully with mild soap and water; don’t break blisters open.
- Elevate the red swollen area to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.
- Take an antihistamine if itching is bothersome at night.
Call a doctor if the redness and swelling do not improve within a few days or if signs of infection develop. Fever and increased redness can indicate a possible infection.
Tests for Mosquito Bite Allergy
How do you know if you or your children are allergic to mosquito saliva? You don’t, until you get bit. If you’ve been bitten before and only suffered a mild reaction, you are most likely not allergic to mosquitoes.
With children, it’s slightly different. If your child has had limited exposure to mosquitoes, he or she may have an unknown allergy. You won’t know unless the child is bitten and has a moderate or severe allergic reaction.
Many different varieties of mosquitoes exist, so it’s possible for you to be allergic to the protein in one mosquito’s saliva and not another. Allergy testing is not always reliable. The lack of blood tests and mosquito salivary preparations make mosquito bite allergy testing difficult, which leads to underdiagnoses of the condition.
Allergies Are Not the Only Mosquito Threat
While not everyone has moderate to severe allergic reactions to mosquitoes, everyone is at risk for contracting the viruses caused by mosquitoes.
Mosquito are known to carry a variety of diseases. The biggest threat to people in the United States is West Nile Virus. This symptoms and severity of this virus can vary by person. For some, the symptoms are so mild that they don’t know they have contracted it. Others experience severe symptoms that affect the spinal cord and brain. People over 50 years of age are at a higher risk of contracting West Nile Virus than younger people.
About 20 percent of people bitten by infected mosquitoes will develop West Nile Fever, while the other 80 percent will have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to the World Health Organization.
Mild West Nile Virus symptoms include the following:
- Body aches
- Joint pain
- Ongoing fatigue
Most people with these symptoms heal completely. West Nile Fever symptoms are more serious and severe and include the following:
- High fever
- Muscle weakness
- Stiff neck
Recovery from West Nile Fever can take weeks or months, and some of the neurological effects may be permanent. Hospitalization may be required in severe cases.
There are no anti-viral drugs or vaccines to help protect people against West Nile Virus, so your best protection is to prevent bites from virus-carrying mosquitoes.
Who's Most at Risk?
Mosquitoes seem to prefer some people over others when looking for a host. Overweight men seem to attract more mosquitoes, but researchers aren’t sure why. Mosquitoes are attracted by a combination of exhaled carbon dioxide, scent and chemicals contained in your sweat.
It is also suggested to wear white or light-colored clothing outdoors during mosquito season. When you wear dark colors, you absorb more heat, which attracts mosquitoes.
Because different species of mosquitos have differences in their saliva, not having an allergic reaction to mosquito bites doesn’t mean you never will. You can be allergic to mosquito bites from a species that you haven’t been exposed to in the past. This would explain why some people have an extreme allergic reaction to a mosquito bite when visiting friends or family in another state.
Each bite puts you at a higher risk of mosquito viruses, like West Nile Virus, and people with certain medical conditions, such as the following, are more at risk than others:
- Kidney Disease
- High blood pressure
The best way to prevent illness or allergies due to mosquito bites is to avoid being bitten.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
Protect you and your family from reactions to mosquito saliva by preventing bites. You can do this in several ways:
- Stay indoors during peak mosquito hours
- Wear light-colored clothing when outdoors.
- Spray your skin with a repellent that contains DEET.
- Place a mosquito net over your child’s stroller or playpen.
Larval Control is also important to reduce bite risks. Dumping out any standing water around your property reduces the mosquito population by limiting their breeding area. Females lay eggs in water and young larvae rely on nutrients found in water to survive and pupate to adulthood. Walk around your property and empty any old tires, wading pools, bird feeders or dog bowls that contain stagnant, standing water.
If you and your family spend a great deal of time outdoors, you should consider an effective, long-term mosquito control method.
Long-Term Methods of Mosquito Control
A long-term solution to your mosquito problem can reduce the risk of bites and allergic reactions. These methods help control mosquito populations and make it safer for you and your family to spend as much time outdoors as you wish.
Mosquito misting systems are a long term solution to control mosquito populations. They work by releasing a fine mist of insecticide to kill mosquitoes in your yard. You can attach the nozzles on fences around the home to eliminate mosquitoes and prevent them from entering your yard.
Misting systems often use pyrethrin or permethrin. These insecticides can pose a risk to beneficial insects and to people if not used properly. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers them a low risk.
Mosquito traps can reduce the mosquito population around your home. Mosquito Magnet® is a mosquito trap that is scientifically proven to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. The traps turn propane into carbon dioxide and mix it with just the right amount of heat, moisture and secondary attractant to draw mosquitoes to their death.
This safe and effective method of mosquito control uses a vacuum to suck in the mosquitoes it attracts. Once inside, the mosquitoes dehydrate and die within 24 hours. While the trap begins to work right away, it can take up to a month to break the mosquitoes breeding cycle.
Mosquito Magnet® is easy to use and maintain, and you’ll need a few accessories:
- Propane to convert to CO2
- Nets to collect dead mosquitoes
- Quick Clear cartridges to clear fuel line clogs
- Secondary attractant to improve catch rate
Every 21 days you’ll need to change the propane tank and purchase a new net, Quick Clear cartridge and secondary attractant. Changing the net regularly is the key to optimum trap performance. When the net is clogged with mosquitoes or pollen, dust and dirt, the trap cannot function properly.
Mosquito Magnet® offers 4 different trap models: Patriot, Independence, Executive and Commander.
The Patriot Model runs on electricity and has a 50-foot cord, which allows you to cover a wide area of your property. The traps protect an area up to one acre. The cord frees you from recharging or replacing batteries several times a year.
Cordless, the Independence Model runs on 4 ‘C’ batteries. It also protects up to one acre of area. Because there is no cord, you can move the trap to a different area, so it’s always where you need it most.
The Executive Model runs on electricity, but has a rechargeable battery that can hold charge throughout mosquito season. This allows for flexibility in trap placement. It also covers a one-acre area.
The Mosquito Magnet® Commander is the first-ever wireless-enabled mosquito trap that lets you conveniently check the status of your trap anywhere, in real-time. Combined with "Smart" fuel saving technology and over 20 years of research, the Commander offers the best in mosquito protection.
Wireless technology is the key driver in this latest addition to the #1 selling Mosquito Magnet® trap line.
Mosquito traps are an investment and a proven way to dramatically reduce the mosquito population on your property. They are also backed by 18 years of research.
Recognize the Start of Mosquito Season
If you or one of your family members is more at risk for developing an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, or if you simply want to protect your family from bites and potential viruses, you should have a plan in place.
It is wise to act before mosquito season starts. Many people believe summer is the start of mosquito season, but that’s not the case. Mosquitoes begin breeding in spring, once temperatures reach 50° Fahrenheit. Order your mosquito trap a few weeks in advance.
Once you set up the mosquito trap, it begins releasing a steady stream of carbon dioxide, heat and moisture to attract mosquitoes. The trap does all the work, while you and your family enjoy your outdoor property.
Trust Mosquito Magnet®
Entertaining and enjoying the outdoors is something many families enjoy. Take pleasure in a great spring, summer and fall season without worrying about mosquito allergies and viruses.
Contact us to learn how you can control mosquitoes in your backyard or other outdoor property.
Protect your family, pets and guests from annoying no-see-ums with a Mosquito Magnet® trap - the leading long-term, scientifically-proven no-see-um control solution