Long, warm summer days give families the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, camping, gardening, or perhaps enjoying a cottage or backyard oasis. But year after year the battle against mosquitos also ensues – and with the first case of local malaria transmission in 20 years recently discovered in the United States, insect repellent and other precautions continue to be important.
Although mosquitos are known to carry malaria, dengue fever, and the West Nile virus, they are also a nuisance and for some people, who are more attractive to mosquitos, the flying insects can spoil the best-laid plans for a summer afternoon. Although there is no fail-safe plan for preventing mosquito bites, there are a number of measures that can help reduce pest activity.
A good insect repellant with ingredients like DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus can be effective at preventing mosquito bites. Covering up exposed skin with lightweight clothing also helps provide protection. Keeping cool can reduce mosquito activity and because alcohol can raise body temperature, it may be best to opt for non-alcoholic beverages outdoors. Dark-coloured clothing may also attract insects, so choose lighter-coloured garments which will also be cooler on hot days.
Keeping the yard, or campsite, clear of debris and any standing water can also prevent the hatching of mosquito eggs. Windows should be fitted with screens when open to keep insects outside where they belong.
Because mosquitos are not strong flyers, a patio fan can help keep these pests away from people. Smoke from a wood-burning fire can also deter mosquitos, but always exercise caution with fire pits, and pay attention to any local fire bans. Never leave a smouldering fire unattended and always douse fires before leaving a campsite.
For a list of the best mosquito repellents of 2023, follow this link to Outdoor Life.