Everyone has been there: you are sitting outside enjoying a nice summer evening when you glance at your arm just in time to see a mosquito taking flight.
You scratch at the already budding welt in annoyance and dread the inevitable itchiness that is sure to be bothersome in the days to come.
The Earth is home to more than 2,700 species of mosquito’s, and 13 species in the United States alone, ensuring that nearly everyone will be itchy as a result of these pests at some point.
So why do mosquito’s bite? Female mosquito’s are the only ones to inflict the uncomfortable bite, and despite popular belief, they do not suck blood for food.
Both male and female mosquito’s feed off of the sugar from plant nectar to survive, but females require the protein found in blood to produce eggs. A single “feeding” on blood can allow a female mosquito to lay around 250 eggs.
Mosquito bites sometimes cannot be avoided, and thankfully there are various ways to help the pesky itch. The safety and ease of using home remedies is becoming increasingly popular, especially in families with young children.
Some popular home remedies can be found below, and a more thorough list can be found at http://www.natural-homeremedies-for-life.com/natural-mosquito-repellent.html .
-Apple Cider Vinegar: rub directly on the bite
-Baking soda: make a paste like substance with half water and let dry on skin
-Banana peel: rub the inside of a fresh peel on the bite
-Toothpaste: apply to the welt and let dry
-A hot bath with or without a cup of vinegar
-A dryer sheet is said to keep mosquito’s away, allowing you to avoid the itch in the first place. The recommended methods are tucking it into a belt loop or shoe lace or rubbing it directly on your skin
Also available for use is insect repellent. To choose a repellent for personal use it is important to know what kind of protection you need.
Repellents vary in strength; some may be suitable for just an afternoon in the yard while others are perfect for a hike in the woods.
There are also natural and synthetic varieties of repellents available, and while they are both effective, synthetic repellents last longer due to higher concentration.
Repellent strength is often measured in DEET, and the DEET percentage is often labeled clearly on the front of the bottle.
A repellent with 5 percent DEET is less powerful and does not last as long as 30 percent DEET. As with any product, it is very important to follow the directions on the bottle thoroughly, this will contain vital information on how to apply the repellent safely and other important information.
The CDC recommends the use insect repellent when outside exposure will be more than 10 minutes due to the rise of occurrences in diseases mosquito’s can carry, particularly West Nile. The CDC also has a recommended list of repellents on its website along with more information.
The easiest way to avoid the annoyance of mosquito’s is to take preventative measures against them. All mosquito’s require standing water to lay their eggs, making it critical to check your yard for any possible breeding areas.
Any stagnant puddles or containers of water should be cleared out to avoid an infestation. If you have a pond in your yard or on your property there are fish recommended specifically for eating mosquito larvae.
In addition you can make your pond dragon fly friendly as they are big feeders of mosquito’s. There are also repellent candles and torches available for outdoor use, but they work the best for small areas.