One of the major stumbling blocks to spending more time outdoors is the dreaded mosquito and the itchy bite it leaves behind. Thankfully in our region these little pests don’t usually come with big problems like they do on other continents. Still, when we are plagued by bugs we tend to spend less time outside.
Rumor has it that women more than men are victims to bug bites, but according to a recent NY Times Health article, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/health/15real.html?_r=0 men tend to be bitten more often. Physical size and carbon-dioxide output are the strong attractors of mosquitos. This is why pregnant women tend to be bitten more than non-pregnant women: they are larger and produce significantly more carbon-dioxide. Here are some other bits about bugs that may help you overcome this small barrier to spending more time on your patio.
Look in nooks and crannies
Fighting off mosquito bites can be done by taking a few proactive and creative steps. First and foremost is to keep your patio and HardscapeTM clear of any and all standing water. This is imperative. Mosquito expert Chris Whiting, owner of pest-control company Mosquito Platoon in Havertown, PA, says that standing water is the number one helper to mosquitos. “2000 mosquitos can breed every few days in just a capful of standing water,” says Chris. “It’s important to clear out any place that may hold even the tiniest bit of water.” This includes recycling and garbage bins after a rainstorm. Keep outdoor spaces clean and dry.
Right now the emerging tech community is abuzz about “Wearables.” Two wearable tech examples are the Apple Watch and the Fitbit fitness tracker. The concept of a “wearable” is to make tech well-integrated into daily life. The creative crafts community has their own mosquito-repellent versions of wearable jewelry. One simple solution is to pull a dryer sheet through a belt loop or tuck it into a waste band. Mosquitos don’t like the smell of the fabric softener as it heats up. A more creative solution is to employ essential oils in the fight against the bite. “Paracord” bracelets, made from lengths of nylon parachute cording, are popular among outdoor enthusiasts. Some soak the paracord in citronella oil before braiding it into a bracelet. Citronella is a known natural bug repellent. Other repellent oils include peppermint, eucalyptus and cloves.
If paracord isn’t your style, make an attractive bracelet, anklet or necklace using lava beads. Lava beads are porous stones (manmade or natural) that can be found online or in craft stores. The beads are filled with little spaces that can hold essential oils. Use a dropper to apply citronella oil to the bead and you have a secret, homemade, wearable that will fight the bites for hours. Making lava bead jewelry is a great summer project for kids.
Hire the big guns
A vigilant use of bug sprays with DEET are the preferred method for many people. It isn’t the most natural way to stay bite free but it is certainly one of the most effective. If Eau d’ DEET isn’t your preferred scent, a pest control company (like Mosquito Platoon, mentioned above) can treat your lawn every month with a natural, pet/kid/greenery safe pesticide spray. These lawn treatments can tend to be pricey but they usually eliminate all need to use any other mosquito-fighting method. There is also the added bonus of fewer-to-no mosquitos in your house, biting you as you sleep. The area sprays pretty much eradicate that possibility.
Don’t let the bugs bug you out of your own patio. It’s your outdoor room, not theirs. Take a few of these steps toward a bite-less, blissful summer in your own backyard.