Summer is an ideal time to enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, it’s also prime time for mosquitos. To keep your skin bite-free, you can always burn citronella candles, spray chemicals on your body, and avoid the outdoors. But did you know there are many other uncommon and intriguing ways to get out of the house and keep the bites at bay?
1. Strategic Planting
Before the heat of summer sets in, beautify your yard, deck, or patio space with plants that may help create a natural shield. Options that can easily be grown in container gardens include basil, catnip, lavender, mint, marigolds, lemon balm, and rosemary.
The smell of these plants is thought to repel the little bloodsuckers naturally. Consider planting them in your yard, around areas where you cook and entertain, and where your children play.
Many of these plants can be crushed or made into a tincture or a spray to repel mosquitos further. And some of them, like basil and rosemary, are great to have on hand for cooking!
2. Encourage Natural Enemies
Many birds, including purple martins, swallows, and various varieties of songbirds love to eat mosquitos. So, if you can attract them to your yard, you can naturally reduce the number of mosquitoes waiting to bite you.
Consider adding a purple martin house to your yard, or hanging bird feeders, and adding a small birdbath.
Plants that provide edible seeds and fruits will also attract birds. Possibilities include marigolds, daisies, cornflowers, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, and asters. Elderberry and staghorn sumac are two good shrub options.
3. Pick your Summer Friends Carefully (wink)
Want to *not* be the person who gets eaten alive? The right friends can help make you less attractive to the little winged monsters.
Mosquitoes prefer warmer victims. Why? Because warm bodies have blood flowing nearer to the surface of the skin and provide an effortless meal. That’s why you are more likely to be bitten while doing hot and sweaty yard chores than when you are cool and comfortable.
Some people naturally run hotter than others. In theory, you want to invite your hot-blooded friends for outdoor activities and reserve your cold-natured friends for indoor entertaining!
Also, alcohol consumption raises your attractiveness to the tiny vampires, so consider inviting friends who like to drink to your outdoor parties, while pouring less for yourself.
It’s also interesting to note that your blood type can affect mosquito attraction. People with blood type O are a 2-to-1 mosquito favorite compared to people with blood type A.
4. Blow them Away
Seriously, a simple breeze is one of the best blockades against mosquito bites, while also keeping you cooler during the summer. You can create a breeze with a sturdy, freestanding fan, or you may want to add ceiling fans to your porch.
Mosquitos find it harder to fly in a breeze, which is why they stay close to the ground. So keep the air moving!
5. Take Care with Clothing and Colors
Since mosquitos fly close to the ground, light colors that provide less contrast against the sky make you a less visible target. Cover your skin with light shades of breathable fabrics to stay cool while keeping the bugs at bay.
Another option is to paint your porch ceiling in a shade of blue that mimics the sky. The soft, blue-green hue called “haint blue” is an old Southern tradition that is thought to trick mosquitos—and restless spirits—into leaving.
Sky blue porch ceilings remain a popular option in many areas beyond the South. Originally, the paint was mixed with lye, which can be useful in chasing away insects. In those times, the paint had to be reapplied more frequently, which also added a fresh coat of repellant.
6. Schedule Your Outdoor Time Optimally
If all else fails, stay inside while mosquitos are out. When mosquito season is in full swing, try to avoid dusk and dawn, since these are the bitey bugs’ favorite times of the day.