We’ve all been there: it’s a nice summer evening and you are getting ready for bed. A nice breeze is coming through the window and your eyelids are getting heavy. You are about to surrender to sleep when you hear it: a high-pitched whining sound. Oh no! It’s a mosquito. You think you can tolerate it and it’s not that bad… until the sound is right next to your ear. That’s the last straw. You turn on the light and proceed to hunt that bug down before it gets you! After all, no one wants a bite, especially on the face.
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Just a Couple of Blood Suckers
There are over 170 species of mosquito found in North America: the two most common being the House and Mosquito. These bugs are distinguished by a set of wings, a slender body with six long legs and a proboscis (the mouth section that closely resembles a beak where a mosquito feeds). Mosquitoes are very small and measure approximately 15 millimeters in length.
Mosquitoes love warm weather and thrive in dark and humid places. Depending where you live, you can have mosquito season, which begins in the spring, reaches a peak in the middle of summer, and ends officially at first frost. If you live further south, mosquitoes can be active all year round.
Mosquitoes suck the blood of humans and pets, which is necessary for their egg development. While these insects don’t appear to be harmful because of their small size, they carry serious diseases and an infestation should be dealt with immediately. Zika, Malaria and Yellow Fever are only a few of the illnesses they harbor. These diseases can have long lasting impacts on your health and some, like Zika, can be transmitted to children while in the womb.
What are the Signs of an Infestation?
There are a multitude of signs of a mosquito infestation in the home:
- A persistent, high-pitched whining sound;
- Waking up with bites and scratching yourself;
- Noticing their presence around food and standing water;
- Mosquitoes flying around the house during the daytime, even though they are nocturnal
Effective Ways to Rid your Home of Mosquitoes
There are many efficient ways to get rid of mosquitoes. These are divided into three categories: General Housekeeping, Holistic and Commercial.
- Eliminate standing water in and around the house. Because female mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, they are drawn to cups, bowls and vases that have a small amount of water in them. Make sure you do your dishes right away and don’t let them soak for long periods of time.
- Make sure you repair any tears in window and door screens around the house so these bugs can’t get in.
- Use your air conditioning when you can in order to eliminate humidity in your home, which mosquitoes love.
- Dust and vacuum dark places in the home, such as closed off rooms, closets, pantries, under furniture, etc.
- Make homemade sprays with any of the following scents and essential oils: garlic, lavender, basil, tea tree, mint, citronella, etc. Mosquitoes do not like the smell of any of these.
- Plant some foliage in the house that repels mosquitoes. Some of these include citronella, basil, mint, rosemary and catnip (your feline friends will love you for this one). Not only is this good for the environment, but it helps your home and skin stay mosquito free!
If the infestation is severe, there are always store bought remedies.
- Mosquito Spray: you can buy these commercial brands at any superstore or Home Improvement center.
- Traps: these devices lure mosquitoes by emitting a light and then trapping them when they enter. The traps can help significantly diminish mosquitoes in your home. They are also safe for humans and pets. You can buy traps at a Home Improvement center or online.
- Zappers: Zappers can be found as lightbulbs, plug-ins or hand-held. Zappers work by emitting a UV light that attracts mosquitoes, where they are electrocuted. Some zappers also emit carbon dioxide, which makes it more effective and irresistible to the bugs.
- Female mosquitoes are the ones responsible for sucking your blood.
- Mosquitoes have heat sensors that they use to detect the blood from inside your body. They can also smell human breath and sense carbon dioxide.
- Mosquitoes have a pre-mating dance.
- Mosquitoes are drawn to potassium. If you eat a banana a day, the mosquitoes will play.
Bug Bite Tips and Tricks:
If you were nabbed by one of these insects, here are a few things you can do to alleviate the symptoms:
- Use an anti-itch cream. You can buy these from any pharmacy.
- Essential Oils
- Water and Baking Soda
- Slapping the area lightly when it itches