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7 ways to repel mosquitoes at home this summer

Posted by American Homes 4 Rent Team

6m read time

Jul 11, 2022

We all have summertime traditions, the things we celebrate every year. Heading to the pool or beach to catch a few rays. Hosting a backyard BBQ with friends and family. Going on a hike or running around the park with your pets. Constantly swatting the air as pests swarm around you. Wait, scratch that last one. Well, don’t actually scratch. Even though bug bites are itchy and irritating, digging your fingernails into your skin only makes them worse. Instead, stop pests from getting near you in the first place. Here are 7 tips to help repel mosquitoes at home this summer and keep those bloodsuckers at bay.

 

Wear protective clothing

Mosquitoes are drawn to exposed skin, so if there’s not much to go for, they’ll seek another target. It might seem wild to wear long sleeves or pants on a hot summer day, but light and loose, breathable fabrics can help ward off the bugs. At the very least, a wide-brimmed hat or one with a protective flap at the back will keep your neck protected, from both mosquitoes and sunburns.

 

Remove standing water

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and if you thought one mosquito was nasty, mosquito mamas lay up to 300 eggs. Getting rid of standing water is crucial to keeping mosquitoes away — you don’t want your home to become the hot new hangout. Check your yard and porch for items that could be collecting water, such as plant containers, toys, storage bins, cups, bottles, bottle caps, wagons, or even certain types of patio furniture. Tip over the standing water or use an outdoor vacuum to suck it up. Don’t forget to check inside the house, either. Water can pool up around your water heater or AC unit, and condensation from items in the pantry may be creating a breeding ground. If you have standing water that’s not easily removable, like puddles, use mosquito dunks to remove larvae before they fully hatch into mosquitoes.  

 

Add plants that repel mosquitoes

Mosquitoes might be pests, but they’re similar to us in at least one way: they don’t like bad smells. Mosquitoes will be less inclined to attack you if you use plants or herbs that aren’t pleasing to their senses or mask the smell of your own natural scent. Ageratum, catnip, citronella, horsemint, and marigolds are ideal plants to keep mosquitoes at bay. While simply leaving them around home entryways will have some impact, you can take things a step further by crushing ageratum and catnip leaves, which will extend their superpowers.

 

Deck out your deck

If you have a front or back patio or deck, take a few preventative steps to reduce mosquitoes in your yard. The American Mosquito Control Association recommends using lamps with General Electric yellow bug lights since they don’t attract mosquitoes like other incandescent lights. You can also set up a mobile fan on your deck. Not only does it add a little breeze while you’re enjoying time outside, but it also deters mosquitoes since they’re relatively weak fliers. Citronella products also have a mild repelling effect, but they’ll likely do a better job of adding pleasant smells to your patio or deck than offer significant mosquito protection.

 

Use a natural mosquito repellent

DEET is the active ingredient in several commercial repellents. It stands for N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (very easy to say, isn’t it?) and is used to repel all kinds of biting pests, from mosquitoes to ticks, by masking human scents. While the Environmental Protection Agency reports that DEET doesn’t pose any health risks when used correctly, it can sometimes lead to issues like irritated and watery eyes, rashes on the skin, and stomach issues if ingested. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions, and avoid using DEET products on irritated skin or directly on your face or hands. It’s easy to forget you’ve got it on and accidentally touch your hands to your eyes or mouth. Even better, try a natural mosquito repellent instead. Sprays and lotions with ingredients such as lavender, lemon eucalyptus oil, and citronella can help ward off pesky bugs, and you can even create some mixtures at home.   

 

Try one of these homemade repellents

Just like odorous plants, there are some foods that mosquitoes absolutely detest. The pests don’t care for cloves or any type of citrus. Combining the two doubles the impact. Slice a lemon in half and then slip a clove into both sides. You can keep a container with this homemade repellent to deter mosquitoes from entering your house. Just make sure to leave plates out of reach of pets. Citrus can cause gastrointestinal issues, and the fruit seeds can lead to problems, too.

 

If you’re a beer fan, pouring a glass of beer or other alcohol can also help repel mosquitoes at home during summertime. Mosquitoes don’t like the smell of alcohol and fruit flies can even get drunk from biting intoxicated people — which has an interesting effect on them! Just don’t drink it right away, and remember to not leave it out overnight, since it can attract other bugs. Alternatively, mix water and dishwashing soap or detergent into a bowl until the bowl fills with bubbles. Mosquitoes will be attracted to the water but will get trapped inside the bubbles. This method is a bit more macabre, though it’s still effective.

 

Grab a mosquito repellent band or patch

Maybe you don’t want to set up one of these homemade repellents. Or perhaps you’re visiting a friend’s house and know they get plenty of mosquitoes. Take your protection on the go with a mosquito repellent bracelet or patch. Most of these bracelets and patches are waterproof and can be worn by adults or children. Look for ones made from plant-based essential oils, such as citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, or peppermint. And who knows? You just may start a new fashion trend.

 

How to treat mosquito bites

Unfortunately, sometimes a mosquito will still make it through your defenses — or will get you while you’re visiting a friend’s home that isn’t as well protected — and bite you. There are plenty of ways to treat mosquito bites. You can use over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine creams to help soothe the pain, such as hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. There are plenty of homemade remedies, too, including oatmeal and water paste, honey, onion, and apple cider vinegar. If you’re covered in bites, you may even consider taking an oatmeal bath. Since you’ll be soaking for a while, why not make a whole evening of it? Bring in a glass of wine and put on some relaxing music. You’ll forget all about those itchy sores.

 

Mosquito bites can put a damper on our summer vibes. But with the right preparation and treatment, you can keep the good times rolling while those pesky bugs stay away from your home.

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