Tips to avoid mosquito bites this summer


Summer in Canada lures people out of their homes and into the fresh air and sunshine, but all it takes is one itchy red bump to be reminded that we share our favorite outdoor spaces with hordes of mosquitoes.

Irritating as they are, some species of mosquitoes are also known to transmit harmful diseases, including West Nile virus. The consistently wet and rainy weather that some provinces experienced in May and June creates the perfect conditions for mosquitoes to breed and thrive. So, the best chance of limiting your exposure to the flying insect and its sting is knowing what factors attract it and how to mitigate them.

« It’s just about being aware of where you are and taking precautions, » entomologist Cara Gibson told Gibson taught insect studies at universities in Canada and the United States for 20 years and now works for the government of British Columbia.

She suggested the following tips to avoid mosquito bites.

Know where they are likely to be

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and their young remain there until they reach the adult stage of their life cycle around the 14th day.

During this period of about two weeks, female mosquitoes feed their young larvae with blood from humans, mammals, birds and reptiles.

For this reason, swamps, bogs, and forests with puddles and ponds typically have large mosquito populations throughout the spring and summer months. They are attracted to chemicals in sweat, including lactic acid produced by exercise, as well as the carbon dioxide we inhale, so they may be more likely to appear around people who exercise a lot. exercise outdoors. They are also more active at dawn and dusk.

Urban and suburban areas can also have large numbers of mosquitoes, if there is standing water nearby.

« One of the classic places where water sits for a very long time is inside old tires, » Gibson said. « It might be surprising because you might be in a rundown old car park and think ‘There’s no bog here’, but if there are tires that have been thrown away, you’ll have standing water. «

Avoiding areas where you know there will be standing water during the time of year when mosquitoes are active can help limit your exposure. If you can’t avoid these places, you can at least be prepared with insect repellents.

Curb their reproduction

Mosquitoes don’t need a lot of standing water to raise their young. In fact, Gibson said, even a saucer with a few inches of water under a flowerpot can harbor mosquito larvae.

« Sometimes people don’t realize they’re actually part of the problem, increasing mosquito populations with standing water. » Gibson suggested pouring out any standing water that accumulates in objects on porches and in yards, regardless of the amount.

Dress defensively

If you know you can’t avoid being around mosquitoes, dress in loose, light-colored, tightly woven clothing.

« If you don’t want to get bitten by mosquitoes, cover up, » Gibson said. « They like some colors more than others, so wearing a light color that’s loose and away from your body is good because they’ll land on the puffing sleeve. » For areas with particularly dense mosquito populations, specially designed mesh shirts, pants, or mosquito nets might be more appropriate.

Insect repellents containing at least a four percent concentration of DEET can be effective at keeping mosquitoes away, but Gibson said it’s important to know how they work.

« Don’t spray DEET on mosquitoes, it doesn’t kill them, » she said. « It’s just a repellent. »

Additionally, Health Canada says people should use mosquito nets when sleeping outdoors or in shelters without mosquito nets, wear clothes made of fabrics like nylon and polyester, and repair or replace old and torn mosquito nets. in doors, windows and vents, as they can serve as access. points in a house.


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