As Floridians, we’re used to a lot of aspects that Mother Nature brings us: humidity, rain every day, hurricanes, beautiful sunsets and weather year-round—and mosquitoes. Most of the time, you hear them before you see them, then there’s a quick bite on your arm or leg, and then you’ll decide to go inside after a while to get away from the swarm.
Not only are mosquitoes annoying, but mosquitoes can carry diseases with them such as Zika Virus, EEE, West Nile, Malaria, Yellow Fever, and many more. In order to prevent your family from these diseases, and so that you can enjoy spending time outdoors without mosquito interruptions, you’ll probably do just about everything you can to prevent mosquitoes. This blog gives you tips on how you can prevent mosquitoes and how to treat mosquito bites if you get bitten.
Treating Mosquito Bites
In most cases, treating mosquito bites will work the same way you would treat any other bug bite. Your symptoms (itching, redness, and swelling at the site of the bite) may last as long as a week, but you have a few different options for dealing with the irritation.
- Aloe: It’s not just for sunburn! Aloe is known to reduce itching and swelling.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Diluting two or three cups in a bathtub of warm water is a good way to treat all-over bites, or you can put a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe individual bites.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda mixed with water will make a paste that can be applied to skin, which reduces swelling and itching.
- Honey: It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties make honey a sweet choice for treating mosquito bites.
- Ice: Putting an ice cube directly on the bite can offer relief and reduce swelling.
- White Vinegar: Apply white vinegar on a bite to reduce the itching.
- Tea Tree Oil: Often available at natural health food stores, tea tree oil is also thought to reduce the itch and swelling of a mosquito bite.
- Damp Green Tea Bag: The cold helps soothe the itch and compounds in the tea help with inflammation.
- Scotch Tape: It’s another sticky solution that may help you remember not to scratch, especially at night.
- Witch Hazel: This plant-based astringent draws raw fluid out and reduces swelling at the bite. Apply in a paste with baking soda.
- Over-the-Counter Anti-Itch Cream: You can find these at most drugstores.
- Banana Peels: The sugars in the chemical makeup of the skin of a banana can sooth and draw fluid out from a bite.
- Lemon & Lime: These citrus fruits are anti-itch, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial.
- Milk & Water: For a soothing compress, soak equal parts milk and water into a towel and apply on the bite.
- Basil: Basil’s aromatic leaf contains camphor and thymol, two compounds that can naturally relieve itching.
How to Prevent Mosquitoes
Now that you know how to treat your painful mosquito bites, what about how to prevent them in the first place? Preventing mosquitoes and mosquito bites in Southwest Florida can be a challenge, but taking a few precautions can save you a lot of pain in the long run!
Avoid Dawn and Dusk
Mosquito bites are most common at dawn and dusk, but bites can occur at any time of the day. It makes sense to avoid staying outdoors for long periods of time around dawn and dusk, and be especially cautious in heavily wooded areas.
When you need to be outside, wearing light-colored clothing, long-sleeve shirts, and pants will provide extra protection. Make note to avoid wearing perfumes or scented lotions.
Keep windows and doors closed at all times, unless they are screened. Your house provides the best protection from mosquitoes. Don’t forget your car windows—keep them rolled up to avoid getting bites in the car!
Many Floridians invest in a screened-in patio or lanai, which allows you to be outside but still have a protective barrier between you and the bugs. Make sure to use a fine mesh screen, and keep it in good repair because insects and mosquitoes can easily make their way in through holes and tears.
Eliminate Potential Mosquito Breeding Spots
While your efforts may not match the effects of the county’s mosquito control program, you can still help reduce mosquitoes in your yard by eliminating potential breeding spots.
- Throw away or turn over any containers that may collect water, such as jars, flower pots, wheelbarrows, children’s toys, or play pools.
- Clear out pipes and gutters. Make sure there is no standing water. Clean out any dirt, leaves, or debris that may be blocking the flow of water.
- Repair leaky pipes.
- Maintain a regular schedule of pool cleaning, using the proper chemicals. Drain swimming pools that are no longer maintained or used.
- Make sure outdoor garbage cans are covered.
- Check your septic drain fields. Make sure water doesn’t accumulate.
- Don’t let water sit on tarps, swimming pool covers, or plastic sheeting over patio furniture.
- Get rid of old tires. If you have a tire swing for children, drill holes in the bottom so that it does not hold water.
DIY Mosquito Repellant
Insect repellants are a great way of preventing mosquito bites when you are spending time in your yard. The Center for Disease Control recommends products that contain the following active ingredients:
- DEET (Off!, Cutter)
- Picaridin (Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (Repel and Off! Botanicals)
- IR3535 (Skin So Soft, Bug Guard Plus)
Call the Professionals for Mosquito Control
If you live in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Sanibel, or any of the surrounding areas in Southwest Florida, the professionals at Larue Pest Management are here to help! We’ll significantly reduce the mosquito populations on your property by identifying key breeding sites and applying mosquito control products to them during the months of April through October.
We always recommend MistAway® Systems, the leading manufacturer of mosquito misting that only certain pest control companies are licensed to install! This mosquito control provides year-round protection against mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and other annoying outdoor pests around your home and yard. MistAway is designed to blend in with your landscape—a remote control is even provided for immediate reduction during peak periods, and it’s weather-proof and comes with a lifetime guarantee!