We all hate them. Yes, we're talking about mosquitoes. They are horrible flying creatures that will keep you up at night. If you're anything like me, hearing the sound of a mosquito at night means you won't be able to fall asleep before you've taken care of the issue and gotten rid of the mosquito. You simply do not want to wake up having turned into a meal for these beasts, being itchy for days to come. It's not fun. That is why we set out to create the most extensive article for you to find out how to make sure you don't end up as mosquito food. We'll take you through all the different things you need to know so that you can stay itch-free. Getting rid of mosquitoes will simply help you stay comfortable.
Diseases That They SpreadBesides being incredibly itchy, there are a bunch of reasons why you might want to take actions against mosquitoes. They spread diseases, and while this isn't necessarily as big of an issue in the US as in other parts of the world, they're incredibly annoying.
MalariaYou've obviously heard of this disease and it's devastating effects including the many programs and initiatives to lessen the problem of malaria. Estimates suggests that well over 400,000 people were killed by malaria in 2015, making mosquitoes the most dangerous animal on the planet. I bet you didn't realize that. Malaria is not a concern in most western countries, but if you travel to countries in Africa where Malaria is prominent, you will need to be especially careful taking protective measures to stay safe. Young children in Africa are the ones that are the most at risk, however. South Asia also has malaria, although it's Africa where you'll be more likely to hear about it being a problem. When traveling in those areas, you will need to look out for the different symptops that could be indicative of malaria, which include fever, shaking chills, tiredness, nausrea, headaches and aching muscles. 10-28 days after being bitten is often when you will start to experience the symptoms. It should be treated as soon as possible to prevent the horrible side effects that include seizure, coma and even death.
ZikaZika is the latest disease transferred by mosquitoes that has come to attention and if you travel, you will have seen the warning signs about the virus. It's especially common in Brazil with symptoms including red eyes, fever, rash and joint pain. The virus can be passed on to babies by pregnant wopmen and it caused an underdeveloped brain with a smaller head too.
DengueSince WW2, the spread of dengue has been recognized as a global problem. South East Asai and Latin America is where it's most prominent with 10,000 deaths happening per year as a consequence of it. High fever, vomiting and joint and muscle pains start less than 2 weeks after being bitten.
Yellow FeverIt causes roughly 30,000 deaths per year and is more common in Africa. Fever, chills, loss of appetite, headaches and muscle pains are common indidcations that you may be suffering from yellow fever. It can cause liver damage and jaundice, and while you can get vaccinated against it, diagnosing it may be hard. Mosquitoes are horrible little creatures that can really make you annoyed. If you're lying in bed and all you hear is that distinctive noise they make, chances are that if you're anything like me, this will keep you up until you manage to find the little bugger and kill it, so that you don't wake up the following morning being itchy as a consequence of its feasting. They will not just make you itch for weeks, but there are actual health concerns from them bringing disease. You'd be surprised by the amount of suffering you can go through as a consequence of being bitten by them, despite the fact that they're no bigger than a small coin. By educating yourself on the methods you can use to keep them out of your home will make you sleep better at night not having to worry about itchy bites.
West Nile VirusThe West Nile Virus may not be as commonly known as some of the other diseases, but it is definitely not a disease to not take seriously. With its ability to cause fatal neurological diseases in humans, it killed 286 people in 2012 making it a rather serious disease. Diagnosing this disease is incredibly difficult since most of the cases have basically no symptoms. Mosquito control is the best way to protect yourself against it since there are vaccines against it. When you add up all the deaths caused by mosquitoes, the final number ends up climbing to over 700,000 making it the planet's most deadly animal, even surpassing the devastating effects created by humans. While the United States is not where people are generally more concerned with the spread of diseases, it's not like we're free from them at all. The Asian tiger mosquito can carry and has been known to carry some of these horrible diseases included dengue and yellow fewer. Along the East Coast, and Missouri and Ohio is where it is more likely to reside. There have also been outbreaks of malaria in the United States, even if it's not a disease we associate with the US.
Can Mosquitoes Transmit HIV?Given that HIV is transmitted through blood, a lot of people ask themselves if mosquitoes could transmit HIV? The good news is that they can't. When mosquitoes bite, they will transfer saliva to you but not blood because of how they're built, even if they have HIV-positive blood in them. The virus also gets digested in the mosquito's gut instead of replicating inside of it, so the particles that could be problematic end up being destroyed instead. Even if you were to swallow a mosquito, they carry too little HIV for you to get infected.
Can you be Allergic to Their Bites?The internet has spoken and while mosquito bites can be incredibly frustrating, there's no conclusive evidence that actual allergies exist to mosquito bites, although some people react a lot stronger to them than others do. There do seem to be cases that could suggest that mosquito allergy is in fact a thing, but they're very rare and science has not gotten far enough to conclusively say it's a thing. Inflammation sometimes causes greater swelling for some than for others, but that is not indicative of an allergy.
What Are Mosquitoes Good For: Why do They Even Exist?With that in mind you might be asking yourself what mosquitoes are actually good for and why do they exist? We're also often asked what would happen if they went extinct. There are lots of different species of mosquitoes and it's actually only very few of the species that transfer those diseases we previously talked about. While their biting may be incredibly annoying, these animals also do serve a purpose.
- They pollinate plants - you probably knew that bees help pollinate plants, and that the value of carpenter bees pollinating plants is estimated to be $4.5 billion, but a lesser known fact is that mosquitoes also serve this purpose.
- They're an important part of the food chain - insect predators, including fish, feed off of mosquitoes.
- Migratory advantages for birds - migrating birds need food and they often depend on mosquitoes in parts of their migrating patterns where other food is hard to come by.
What Would Happen if They Went ExtinctIt's an interesting question, and wouldn't we all appreciate not having to deal with itchy bites ever again? But what would in fact happen if mosquitoes went extinct? It would be the largest group of species to ever go extinct, as there are roughly 3,500 species. Out of those 3,500, only 200 attack humans. Out of those 200, 3 are especially nasty ones in terms of diseases - Aedes, Culex and Anopheles. If mosquitos went extinct, a lot of the animals that are especially fond of eating the insect would also go down in numbers. Migratory birds would become fewer and the same would be the case for fish, such as the mosquitofish. Given that they're such a big part of the food chain, an extinction would have big consequences. Some scientists predict that it wouldn't end up in a disaster, but introducing and removing animal species has already provided undesirable consequences.
What Eats Mosquitoes and are Therefore to Some Extent Dependend on Them?There's a bunch of animals that naturally like eating mosquitoes and depend on them to greater or lesser extent as a food source. We'll walk you through the most common ones here.
Do Spiders Eat Them?While you may not like spiders, they do help lower the amount of mosquitoes in your home by eating them. They don't go out and actively hunt them, but if they fly into their nets, they will eat them.
Do Bats Eat Them?Bats feed on insects, and mosquitoes is one of those insects, however there are other insects that they are a lot better at catching and eating.
Birds That Eat Those Little PestsWe already established that there are birds that will eat these little buggers, but exactly which ones rely on them? For one, a lot of migratory birds, which we previously talked about. You can in fact go as far as taking active measures to attract birds that will eat them with birdhouses, feeders and birdbaths. Some of the birds that depend on these insects as food include Blackpoll Warblers, Barn Swallows, Purple Martins, waterfowl such as ducks, terns and geese. They generally eat them at all the different stages of their development.
FishThere's a significant number of fish that benefit from mosquitoes, with the most notable one being the mosquito fish. This type of fish is a very effective predator when it comes to mosquito larvae. Turtles, frogs and tadpoles are also all animals that eat mosquitoes. Other insects that will eat mosquitoes include dragonflies. These are sometimes referred to as "mosquito hawks". Early on, they feed very much on the larvae. Damselflies also feed on larvae. Some species of mosquitoes will actually eat other mosquitoes too.
Why do Mosquitoes Bite Certain People: What Blood Type do They LikeCertain people seem to get bitten by mosquitoes a lot more often than others do, and the type of blood seems to play a role with regards to it as well as other factors. Given that the mosquitoes bite humans to get their blood, it isn't surprising that they would have their preference. Between blood types O, A and B, they seem to prefer O over B and B over A. Mosquitoes can also also smell carbon dioxide, which we breathe out, and larger people and ones that are physically active will breathe out more of it than people that are less so. Kids also breathe out less carbon dioxide, causing them to get stung less often. Mosquitoes can smell a range of different chemicals that are also built up during physical activity - these include ammonia, uric acid and lactic acid. Higher body temperatures in general is also something they're attracted to, and genetic factors may influence your natural production of some of these chemicals. Certain types of skin bacteria and their densities on the skin can influence how likely you are to get bitten. Studies have also found that consumption of beer could influence how attracted they are to you, although it could also effectively be because beer consumption increases sweating and body temperature. Pregnancy increases your production of carbon dioxide, and pregnant women attract more mosquitoes than women that aren't. Their increased body temperature could also be a contributing factor to this.
What Colors Attract ThemWhile all the above things may seem to attract mosquitoes, did you know that the color of your clothes could also be playing a role? Apparently dark clothing can help draw them to you too, including dark blue, brown, black and other darker colors. Clothes with lighter colors are also better heat-reflectors, and given that they're drawn to heat, wearing lighter clothes will help you avoid getting bitten.
Are Mosquitoes Attracted to LightYou have probably always been told to make sure to close the door to your home in order to avoid having insects flying into it. If you are sitting and watching a movie and you suddenly start seeing a mosquito next to the screen, that could also lead you to believe they like light, but are they in fact attracted to light? When you go out onto your porch at night and turn on the outdoor lighting, you'll quickly find yourself surrounded by a lot of different insects. There's just something about that artificial light that draws them in. Light or heat will basically do the trick due to phototaxis. The reason behind why they do it is not completely known, and some people believe it could be due to their navigation not working as intended because of the light. Red and yellow lights are better in terms of not encouraging mosquitoes to disturb the cozy atmosphere you're having outside. Warmer color temperature bulbs are the better option to avoid drawing insects.
Do Male Mosquitoes Bite and if Not What do They Eat?The good news is that male mosquitoes won't bite you. They eat nectar from flowers and other sugar sources they can get access to. Their mouths are different. Plant sap, honeydew and nectar are simply more appealing to them.
Where do They Live and Lay Their Eggs?For laying their eggs, the most common places for them to do so includes swamps, marches, ponds and other bodies of water. When you can get rid of those, you will also limit the amount of mosquitoes where you live.
Can They Bite Through Clothes?While not directly about getting rid of them, people often wonder if they're able to be bitten through actual clothing. Mosquitoes can bite through clothing but not ones made from thick material. It's the tubelike apparatus in their mouth that gives them the option to go after you even if you're not exposing any skin. If you want to avoid getting stung through clothes, it can be a good idea to avoid wearing very tight clothes as it is easier for them to get through that. If you're wearing more loos clothes, it simply means the little creep will be further away from your delicious skin. When you go to an area where you expect for there to be a lot of them, it could however be a good idea to spray your clothes with repellent to keep them off.
Types of MosquitoesThere are many different types of mosquitoes, each of them being more annoying than their former.
WyeomyiaThe Wyeomyia is generally not a nuisance in North America, but if you go to Central and South America, you might run into it there. They tend to live in flowers and trees, and there are a lot of different sub-species. Luckily you don't have to worry about being stung by them since they don't really carry diseases. They will, however, still leave you itching.
ToxorhynchitesAlso known as the elephant mosquito, Toxorhynchites eat nectar and will therefore leave your blood alone. They can get very big, but at least they will leave you alone.
CulexThese are also called house mosquitoes, and are one of the most common species you'll be exposed to. They unfortunately have the possibility of passing on viruses and other nasty things to humans. An intimate encounter with the Culex mosquito will leave you itching.
Culex QuinquefasciatusCulex quinquefasciatus is known as the Southern house mosquito and are present in tropic and sub-tropic areas, so if you have been to the swamps of Florida, you have probably encountered these bastards before. Read more about the different types of mosquitoes right here. To sum up, there are good reasons to make sure the mosquitoes do not get into your home in the first place.
17 Sure Ways to Get Rid of MosquitoesIf you can remove the mosquito's breeding ground, they're also less likely to lay those 100 to 300 eggs that will eventually hatch. If they know where you sleep, and trust me, they will find out, they will also have a tendency to head to those areas and live there. It is most common for them to approach and try and get a bite out of you while you're asleep. If you're one of those people that were born without mosquitoes being attracted to you, you're one of the lucky ones, and there are in fact many reasons why a mosquito is more or attracted to you, and drinking beer could make you more likely to attract them too. You can also start off by setting up traps to help capture them. Needless to say, here is how you get rid of mosquitoes in your home. There are also things you can use to repel them.
Seal Your EntrywaysYou need to make sure that your home is sealed, and that there are no little holes they can get in through, which involves taking a closer look at your entryways. By making sure those are sealed, you won't need to go out of your way to use repellents to keep them away from you if they simply can't enter your home. This not only works with mosquitoes but also other insects. You should ensure that all your screens and nets on windows do not need repairing, or they'll somehow manage to find their way through them.
Get rid of breeding groundsWork with a local exterminator to make sure their breeding grounds are at best limited, and preferably removed all together if possible. They generally breed near water, and you should work on removing water sources that are just attracting them. This involves exposed pipes, rain gutters, bird baths, drip trays, pools, trash cans and all other water sources around your home you may think of. While you cannot get rid of all water sources, it just makes sense to limit the ones you can, which for example involves making sure the gutters are working correctly and aren't clogged up, which would leave pools of water in them. If you have a swamp, pond, marsh or other type of wetland habitat, you'll know how much mosquitoes love water, but there are more places they like to hide. Get rid of containers that would be good breeding grounds for them and walk around your property and find stagnant water sources you can eliminate, which could even be in a thing as simple as an old tire that has been lying around and now has water inside of it. The next step is to get rid of all the breeding grounds of mosquitoes in your property. You should ensure that both inside and outside your home don’t have places where mosquitoes can lay eggs. Remove all unused containers that have stagnant water in them. Old tires should be slashed to keep water from accumulating inside. You should also change water from flower vases daily to avoid mosquitoes from laying eggs in there. Remember that mosquitoes that carry diseases lay eggs in clean water so cover all clean water that you are planning to use in the future.
RepellentsRepellents will help you keep them away, and while there is nothing worse than being stung by a bunch of mosquitoes, there is nothing better than coming home after a day in a mosquito breeding ground without a single bite because you were properly using repellents. These can also be used in your home. There are many natural ingredients that can be used to keep them away, and these include:
- Cinnamon oil
- Thyme oil
- Tea tree oil
Does Lemongrass Repel Mosquitoes?When you're looking for natural repellents against mosquitoes, lemon eucalyptus oil is bound to be one of the things you come across. It's been used since the 40s and has actually been approved by the CDC as a repellent.
What About Lavender?When you crush lavender flowers, the fragrance can also be used to keep the buggers away. It even has antifungal and antiseptic qualities too. Arms and ankles are places that they will often bite so applying the oil to those places can help keep you bite-free.
Swatters and spraysWhen the mosquito meets the swatter or the spray, there's only one winner, and it's not the mosquito. Even if they manage to get into your home, these can be used to keep you bite-free. There are a lot of different options in the market which you can go with. You can also get the ones that attract the mosquitoes just to take them down as soon as they make contact.
Soapy WaterSoapy water is known to trap them, so while it might not make them stay away, they will get attracted to the water just to experience they're trapped with the soap. It's an easy DIY solution, and you just might be surprised by the amount of mosquitoes it will take down. Simply take a shallow dish and put some water in it and stir in some soap or detergent.
Trim GrassGrass is excellent for storing a lot of humidity and by cutting trees, grass and plants, you will be limiting where they can be breeding effectively. Mow the lawn or have a landscaping contractor come and do it for you. it is not just that these places are good for storing humidity, they're dark places, where they can breed without being interrupted very often.
Plants That Repel MosquitoesIf you want to put in some yard work and even improve your landscaping, you can even do so with the added benefit of growing plants that will repel mosquitoes. If you're a fan of vegetable gardening, adding these plants to your backyard will be an easy task too.
GeraniumA lot of landscaping companies also know the power of this plant, and then it is very beautiful to look at as well as keeping those little biting animals away. If you're choosing simply on the basis of the kind that is better at keeping mosquitoes away, you should go with the lemon scented one. It's similar to citronella which is another effective plant you can make use of.
RosemaryWhile tasting delicious when you use it to cook with, it can also be used to keep mosquitoes away. When you're sitting around the fireplace and enjoying the outside, you can even throw some of it on the fire which not only provides a nice smell but will help in making sure you don't wake up covered in itchy marks.
Grow garlicYou probably didn't know that garlic is an excellent way of repelling these creeps. Whether you eat it, or grow it, it will all help keep them away, and the advantage of growing it in your home is that you won't have quite the same need to use swatters and sprays, although the two can work in unity to keep your skin clear. If you do choose to grow it in your home, you should make sure that it is being used strategically. You can choose where you will plant it to keep them out of those rooms, which could be nice where you sleep. For as long as the plant is alive, you will keep having the benefit that they'll very successfully help keep your room free from mosquitoes. A good way is to plant garlic in your garden or in pots near your home. Planting garlic has been a proven way on repelling mosquitoes without using sprays. The smell of garlic will repel mosquitoes, which will be a great help for keeping them at bay. Make sure that you place them strategically all around your home so that it will ward off mosquitoes even in areas that you can’t spray repellant frequently. This is a good long-term repellant as the smell will repel mosquitoes as long as the plants are alive.
PeppermintWho doesn't love the smell of peppermint? Well, for one, those little blood-sucking creatures. It can even kill mosquito larva too. When you're sitting in the back with a beer and you don't want to be annoyed, simply crush some of it, and it'll even smell great.
BasilBasil is a type of herb that tastes delicious almost no matter what kind of food you add it to and it's a great natural way to stay insect-free too. You'll not only be making it a nicer experience when you go outside in the evening, but you'll also be making your food taste better too.
MarigoldsThese plants contain Pyrethrum which also goes into a lot of the products you can buy. If you like leaving your doors and windows open but don't like to get stung, you can place these beautiful plants next to openings.
CatnipIf you have cats, they'll also love you for planting them and the chemical nepetalactone helps keep you bite-free. It's even extremely easy to grow.
Getting Rid of Them When They're In Your GarageYou may be getting out of your car in your garage only to notice that it always seems to be where the mosquitoes are hiding, and now you're thinking about how you can get rid of them there. Naturally, you want to be able to use the space without having to worry about turning into a big mosquito bite just, forced to walk around for days and days with that itchy feeling on your skin. This section of the article focuses exactly on what you can do when they're there. We'll tell you where they're hiding, and usually what it is that will draw them to the space. While they're a lot of the same things that you would otherwise be looking for, having them pointed out sometimes help identify the issue. Make sure that you also get the chance to read our article on turning your garage into a room, should you be in a situation with an expanding family and no intention of making a new home addition. So, back to the article. They're greatly attracted to any still-standing water and you'll therefore need to figure out where this is hiding so you can get rid of it. In fact, it could be caused by a roof leak which you would then also want to have repaired as soon as possible. Your garage should be that safe haven where you can go to work on whatever project you'd like without being bothered by any sort of pests. When these little bastards see standing water, that's what will get their attention, and all of the sudden, there's not one but a small army. Here are some of the common places where standing water are likely to happen:
- Make sure your driveway has been sealed and that no puddles form, and look for any other puddles that may be caused by damage to building materials or uneven surfaces, asphalt included.
- If you're an avid recycler (or aspiring to become one) you should know that this is also a very easy spot for water to gather without you noticing it since draining may not be your first concern. Drilling a hole at the bottom of the container will suffice, assuming you do so at the lowest point where the water is collecting.
- While grass clipping can be used for creating compost, it's also a great way for water to gather without you noticing it. You should make sure that those clippings are as far away from the house as possible so as to discourage the mosquitoes from feasting on you and your family.
- Making sure that your gutters aren't clogged is an important part of your home maintenance checklists since it can otherwise have devastating consequences, and a lack of due gutter cleaning can invite the mosquitoes into your garage.
- Make sure you don't have any buckets or containers standing around that have water in them for whatever reason.