How to Get Mosquitos to Bug Off this Summer

Summer brings longer days, more sunshine, more time outdoors — and mosquitos. In Michigan, peak mosquito season typically starts in July. But it’s important to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones all year. Here are some mosquito-borne illnesses and prevention tips to be aware of so that you can best protect yourself this season.   

Use repellents 

Using a good bug repellent is essential in protecting yourself this season. When searching for insect repellent, make sure that it has active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus to ensure the best protection. 

If you’re looking to stay away from chemicals such as DEET, there are some effective repellents that are made up of all natural ingredients. For example, cinnamon leaf oil and peppermint and lavender essential oils can help repel and even kill mosquitos. While many oils can be effective in keeping mosquitos away, not all are safe for your skin. Some oils are not safe for topical use without being diluted first, so be sure to research before putting anything directly on your skin.  

This homemade all-natural mosquito repellent is safe for your skin. 

  • Ingredients: 
    • Spray bottle 
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus or lavender essential oil  
    • Witch hazel 
  • Directions:  
    • Mix one part oil of lemon eucalyptus or lavender essential oil with 10 parts witch hazel (for every one drop of oil of lemon eucalyptus or lavender essential oil, add 10 drops of witch hazel)  
    • Shake to mix  
    • Spray to apply

Wear the right clothing 

An easy way to help protect yourself from mosquitos is by wearing the right clothes.  

  • Avoid skin-tight and close-fitting clothing, such as leggings, that give mosquitos easy access to your skin. 
  • Wear light colors because mosquitos are more attracted to dark colors. This will also help you stay cool in the summer heat. 
  • Mosquitos are attracted to the smell of human sweat, so spray yourself and your clothing with mosquito repellent.   
  • Wear closed-toe shoes with socks.  
  • Avoid flowy clothing that mosquitos could easily get under. 

Other Helpful Tips 

  1. Avoid areas with stagnant water: they can create breeding grounds for mosquitos to reproduce.  
  2. Dispose of trash properly and keep your yard clean. This helps avoid creating any ideal nesting spots in your yard.  
  3. Be aware of peak mosquito hours. Peak mosquito hours are dusk to dawn so try to avoid being outside or make sure that you are protecting yourself with the proper clothing and repellent.  
  4. Keep mosquitos outside. Put screens on your windows and remember to close the door when going in and out to keep your home mosquito free.   
  5. Change your outdoor lighting. Choose a yellow-tinted light bulb instead of a traditional white one. These yellow lights are often referred to as a “bug light.” They work by emitting a light that many insects can’t see and consequently keeps them away from your porch or patio. 

West Nile virus

While, for the most part, mosquito bites are harmless, one disease to be aware of is West Nile virus. West Nile virus is carried by certain types of mosquitoes. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most cases of West Nile virus are mild, in fact most people show no symptoms at all.  

However, the disease does have the potential to be dangerous. West Nile can affect anybody, but people over the age of 60 are more likely to get the severe form. Wearing insect repellent when outdoors is an important step in protecting yourself.  

In Michigan, urban areas in the Lower Southeastern part of the state (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties) and Western Lower Michigan (Kent County) have historically seen the most West Nile virus activity. Use the prevention tips in this article to help protect yourself from mosquitos and mosquito-borne viruses this summer. 

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, be sure to check out Michigan’s official webpage here 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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