Many people have heard there are certain foods that repel mosquitoes. The idea is that if you eat lots of these foods, your body will give off a scent that naturally repels mosquitoes. But is there any truth to this claim? Unfortunately, there is no solid scientific evidence to back up this theory.
On the bright side, adding healthful foods to your diet is never a bad idea. The foods that most people claim will repel mosquitoes include garlic, onions, beans, lentils, tomatoes and apple cider vinegar. These are overall nourishing foods that can have a very healthy place in many people’s diets.
Furthermore, there are several types of foods that some say will draw more mosquitoes to you. These include beer, salty foods and sugary foods—all types of foods that many of us would benefit from reducing in our diets. If cutting down on these foods also helps keep mosquitoes away, so much the better. (Still, there is no scientific evidence supporting this claim, either.)
Where did these ideas come from? Why would eating certain foods repel mosquitoes and others draw them your way? The answer lies in something that scientific research has proven: Mosquitoes are drawn to humans based on several factors, including the levels of body heat, carbon-dioxide and lactic acid that we give off through our skin.
Mosquitoes are attracted to people who give off higher levels of lactic acid, and salty foods are said to increase our muscles’ output of lactic acid. If reducing salt in your diet does help protect you against mosquito bites, maybe this is why. For most people, there is little harm in experimenting with your diet to see whether you can reduce how many mosquito bites you get on a summer day. If you decide to try this, however, be sure to consult your doctor first! It’s important to make sure you’ll get the right levels of nutrients and calories before trying any type of diet.
But why leave it up to chance and anecdotal evidence? There are plenty of steps anyone can take that are proven to keep mosquitoes away. These include things you can do to reduce mosquito populations around your home and yard, as well as things you can do to reduce bites when you’re spending time outside.
Here is a comprehensive list:
- Dump out standing water after it rains or after watering your yard. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Making sure water doesn’t collect in planter pots, old tires, children’s toys, bird baths and other places in your yard will cut down on these pests’ breeding grounds.
- Even the moisture collected in dead leaves can be enough for some types of mosquitoes to breed. For this reason, keep your yard clear of dead leaves and brush piles. If you have low spots in your yard that collect water, build them up to resolve the drainage issue.
- Maintaining your grass and landscaping can actually help reduce mosquito populations in several ways. These pests hang out in tall grasses and overgrown bushes. Mowing the lawn and trimming back overgrown plants will reduce the areas that shelter mosquitoes.
- Wear long pants and sleeves when you’re going to do yard work or spend a long time outdoors. Also, wear lighter-colored clothing if you can. It is believed that mosquitoes have a harder time seeing people in light clothes than in dark ones. Covering more of your skin also leaves less of you exposed to their bites.
- To protect your exposed skin, use a mosquito repellent product to keep these biting pests away.
- Use a porch ceiling fan or a box fan. Mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers, so keeping the air moving around you can protect you from their bites.
Mosquito bites are itchy and annoying, but they can also be dangerous for both people and pets. Many types of mosquitoes are known to carry diseases that can make people very sick. These diseases include malaria, Zika and dengue fever. Pets can also suffer due to these pests. Too many mosquito bites can sometimes cause allergic or even nervous reactions in dogs. And, sadly, dogs can get heartworms from mosquitoes.
These are just a few of the numerous reasons to keep mosquito populations as low as possible around your home. If you’re doing everything you can to keep mosquitoes away and they’re still a problem, it’s time to contact a professional for pest treatment. Pest control specialists have access to the most effective products and techniques that will keep you and your family safe from these blood-suckers.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Outdoors
Wondering how to get rid of mosquitoes outdoors? Keeping mosquito populations as low as possible is a smart move, because these pests aren’t just incredibly annoying—they can actually be dangerous. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to reduce their populations in your yard.
Eliminate Sources of Standing Water
The first thing to do is to make sure that standing water is never able to collect in your yard. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and the eggs can hatch into larvae in as little as a day or two if conditions are right. Furthermore, a single female mosquito can lay hundreds of eggs at a time. If the water where they lay their eggs isn’t dumped out, there will soon be clouds of young mosquitoes flying around, looking for someone to bite.
This is why eliminating pooled water in your yard is so important. It can be tedious and time-consuming to keep up with it, but it’s worth it. Soon after it rains or you run your sprinklers, go outside and dump out any water that has collected anywhere around the yard. Look inside tires, pots, buckets, kids’ toys, pet bowls and any other items that might collect water.
Keep Your Yard Maintained
Low spots where water pools should also be fixed, since some types of mosquitoes need only very small amounts of moisture to breed. On that note, many people don’t realize that basic yard work will go a long way toward keeping mosquito populations low. When they aren’t out looking for someone to bite for a blood meal, these pests hang out in overgrown grass and bushes. They can even lay eggs in piles of damp leaves. Raking up leaves, mowing the grass, and trimming all bushes and plants will reduce the areas where mosquitoes can breed or find shelter.
Contact a Pest Control Professional
A pest control professional can also use several different techniques to get rid of mosquitoes in your yard. A specialist will look for egg hatching spots to treat first. They might use baits to treat mosquito eggs and larvae, or mist repellent over the areas where mature mosquitoes hang out. Traps can be another effective method that professionals use to combat mosquitoes.
Any single product or technique won’t work as well on its own as several approaches used together. Getting rid of mosquitoes almost always takes multiple techniques and products used at the same time. If you have your yard professionally treated, keeping up with yard work and faithfully dumping out standing water will help a lot between pest treatments to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Do Cicadas Eat Mosquitoes?
In Texas yards, cicadas usually start to emerge in early May—around the same time that mosquito season is well underway. Mosquitoes actually get going earlier in the year than cicadas. As soon as spring arrives, with warmer weather and more rain, mosquito populations start exploding. Some people wonder, do cicadas eat mosquitoes? While it’s tempting to hope for natural pest control in the form of animals or insects eating pests in your yard, unfortunately, cicadas don’t eat mosquitoes.
There are other types of animals that eat mosquitoes, such as bats as well as fish, frogs, tadpoles and turtles. This might seem like an argument in favor of having a pond in your back yard, since so many common pond creatures can feed on mosquitoes or their larvae. But remember that mosquitoes lay eggs in water. Their larvae also need water to survive. Pond environments can actually increase mosquito populations instead of reducing them.
Creating a bat habitat in your yard may be a better idea, although lots of people don’t want bats around any more than they want mosquitoes. Bats do eat lots of insect pests, though. They also help with plant pollination, which makes them a very helpful species that is important to our overall ecosystem.
Still, though bats can eat hundreds of insects in an hour and are a viable part of natural pest control, they won’t be enough help if you have a mosquito problem in your yard. Furthermore, people who set up bat houses in their yards in hopes of attracting these helpful animals also need to incorporate a water source for the bats to live on. This, in turn, increases mosquito populations, since mosquitoes breed in water.
It’s better to follow the simple steps you can do on your own—dump out standing water, keep up with mowing and other yard maintenance—and enlist the help of a pest control professional to control mosquitoes. Together, these efforts will go a long way toward reducing the number of annoying bites you and your loved ones have to suffer through the warmer months of the year.
ABC Can Reduce Mosquito Populations Around Your Property
Mosquitoes can make spending time outdoors miserable. Fortunately, ABC Home & Commercial Services can help. Our professionals will create a custom pest control plan, so you can enjoy your time at home without getting bitten.