How to Avoid Mosquito Bites

By many measures, mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals in the world. Conservative estimates hold mosquitoes responsible for hundreds of millions of malaria cases each year. However, mosquitoes also transmit a host of other diseases, including West Nile virus, yellow fever, and dengue fever. There's ample reason to take every possible measure to avoid mosquito bites even without taking into account their terrible, stinging itchiness. For the best chance at thwarting these tiny killers, know where mosquitoes live, how to repel them, and how to kill them.


[Edit]Preventing Mosquitoes from Biting You

  1. Wear mosquito repellent. A variety of specially-formulated insect repellents are available for sale at camping or sporting goods stores. Apply insect repellent to uncovered skin surfaces when outdoors, especially during the day. When using sunscreen, apply it before insect repellent. Here are a few common chemical solutions effective at repelling mosquitoes:
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    • Repellents containing 30% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are recommended for adults and children over 2 months of age and effective for several hours. Repellents with lower amounts of DEET offer shorter-term protection and must be applied more often.
      • DEET can irritate skin when applied directly in high concentration or for long periods of time. It can even cause severe skin reactions in certain individuals.
      • Despite rumors to the contrary, DEET has never been scientifically proven to cause cancer.[1]
    • Repellents containing up to 15% picaridin, which must be applied often, are available in the US. Repellents with higher concentrations of picaridin may be available in some regions outside the US.
  2. Consider an all-natural solution. Experiment with non chemical solutions such as Citronella (natural plant oil). Tea tree oil and vitamin B have reportedly helped some people repel mosquitoes. As with any product, their effectiveness depends on the situation, your own skin chemistry, and the exact type of mosquito you are dealing with. Note, however, that so-called "alternative" solutions sometimes aren't held to the testing standards that mainstream commercial repellents are - research alternative solutions and read testimonials before spending any money.
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  3. Wear loose, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. One of the best ways to keep mosquitoes from biting you is to simply cover your skin. Wear your sleeves and pant legs as long as possible to cover as much skin as possible. Also keep your clothing as loose as possible. This serves two purposes: first, it's much more comfortable in the hot, humid weather where mosquitoes thrive. Second, mosquitoes can sometimes bite through clothing that's held tight against the skin, especially if the fabric is thin.
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    • If you have the money, camping and sporting goods stores often sell specially-designed pants and shirts made out of strong yet lightweight material. These clothes offer maximal protection from mosquito bites along with a relatively high level of comfort.
    • Clothing may also be sprayed with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent for greater protection. (Remember: don't use permethrin on skin.)
  4. Don't waste money on an electric hanging bug "zapper." These have been shown to kill many bugs very effectively but generally the bugs killed are the non-harmful ones. [2] Plus, the noise they generate tends to be obnoxious. Mosquitoes can be more effectively killed by one of the dedicated machines that use heat and carbon dioxide to attract the mosquitoes and then entrap or kill them using nets, containers or chemicals.
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  5. Sleep with a mosquito net over your bed. The mosquito netting has fine holes big enough to allow breezes to easily pass through but small enough to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects out. Hang the netting over your bed, securing the top of the net to one or more surfaces. Support the net so that it's tented without hanging down onto you. Make sure to sleep without touching the sides - mosquitoes can actually bite you through the netting if it's tight against your skin. Check for holes regularly - patch them with duct tape for a quick fix..
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    • Protect infants less than 2 months of age by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.

[Edit]Avoiding Mosquito Habitats

  1. Avoid parts of the world where mosquitoes are common. Unfortunately, mosquitoes live on every continent except Antarctica. However, they're generally more common in warmer, wetter areas, which tend to be close to the equator. If you really want to avoid mosquito bites, stay out of tropical climates entirely.
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    • Mosquitoes are especially common in jungles and swamps in Central and South America, South and Southeast Asia, Sub Saharan Africa, and Oceania.
    • If you're unsure about whether it's safe to travel to a certain part of the world, visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Malaria Travel Information website.[3] This site gives a country-by-country breakdown of malaria prevalence, as well as any noted malarial drug resistances.
  2. Avoid standing water. Mosquitoes are often attracted to water, especially standing water, so lakes, stagnant creeks, bogs, marshes, and swamps are mosquito havens, especially during hot months. Most species of mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water and some have even adapted to lay their eggs in salt water.[4] Stay away from any bodies of stagnant water, whether they're small puddles or vast swamps, to reduce your risk of encountering mosquitoes.[5]
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    • Many species of mosquito stay fairly close to where they hatch and breed. If you can give these wet, standing areas a wide berth, you'll avoid these species entirely.
  3. Don't let water stand near your home or campsite. It's easy to unintentionally create habitats for mosquitoes to live and breed in. For instance, a kiddy pool left out in the summer sun for several days can soon become a hotbed for mosquitoes. Get rid of any standing water around your home or campsite.[6] If you have a pool, cover it when it's not in use and treat the water with chemical additives like chlorine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Change the water in birdbaths often. Here are just a few places water can accumulate:
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    • Discarded tires or industrial containers
    • Construction ditches or trenches
    • Pools
    • Natural low points on a piece of property
    • Clogged storm drains
  4. Avoid certain "mosquito" seasons. In the tropics, differences between seasons are minimal, so mosquitoes are able to thrive in warm weather year-round. In temperate areas, however, mosquitoes are only active during warmer months. In colder periods, mosquitoes hibernate and new adults do not mature past the larval stage. [7] For example, parts of the American Midwest have cold, snowy winters which eliminate mosquitoes entirely, but also have hot, humid summers, which cause mosquito populations to swell. "Mosquito season" varies depending on the locale - generally, it's the hottest and/or most-humid part of the year.
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    • Another seasonal factor which can influence mosquito populations is flooding. Some parts of the world, like Egypt's Nile River, experience periodic flooding. Standing water from the flooding can cause a dramatic boom in mosquito populations.
  5. Avoid getting too hot. This advice is especially important if you're in a hot, humid climate. Mosquitoes are thought to be attracted to warm bodies,[8] so staying cool is one way to avoid bites. Dark-colored fabrics absorb more heat from the sun than light-colored alternatives, so avoid them. Also avoid excessive exercise when possible. Not only will exercise cause you to radiate heat, it will also cause you to breathe heavily. Carbon dioxide, one of the gasses you exhale, can be smelled by mosquitoes even at relatively long distances.[9]

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[Edit]Eliminating Individual Mosquitoes

  1. Grab the mosquito out of the air. Unless you practice this a great deal, you will find it hard to accomplish and the air of your moving hand gives the mosquito plenty of warning, and can even blow it out of your grasp.
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  2. Use a mosquito swatter. The swatter, usually made of a thicker metal or plastic, is mounted on the end of a springy wire, dramatically increasing your chances of hitting a stationary mosquito by increasing the momentum of the swat. You can also use your hand in a similar flipping motion.
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  3. Use a double-handed clap. Using two hands is more effective than one, as the air coming from each hand will blow the mosquito into the opposing palm.
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  4. Don't try to trap the mosquito while it bites you. There's an urban legend that says you flex your muscle or stretch your skin tight as a mosquito bites you, its proboscis will get stuck in your skin and it will drink your blood until it explodes. There isn't any scientific research to support this claim. Even if you can get this method to work, you'll still be left with an especially big bite and you'll still be putting yourself at risk for malaria, West Nile virus, etc. If you're trying to avoid mosquito bites, why kill the mosquito by letting it bite you?
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  5. Trap the mosquito in a cup. If the above steps aren't working or the thought of killing a mosquito makes you feel guilty, you can try catching a mosquito alive, then releasing it outside of your home or camp. Slowly place a cup (preferably made of a hard material) over the mosquito and then slide some paper underneath this cup. This gives you control over the mosquito and can provide you with a more pacifistic approach, instead of just killing the mosquito. Carefully hold the paper over the cup's bottom as you relocate the mosquito to a more appropriate habitat.
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  • Mosquitoes are attracted to the lactic acid on sweaty skin, so showering regularly can help you avoid bites.
  • Mosquitoes tend to be attracted to the colour blue, as well as other dark colours.
  • Try to get netting on your windows so they can't come in.
  • Keep the toilet lid shut; this removes another source of moisture. This is especially important for outdoor toilets.
  • Rub mentholated petroleum jelly on your ankles, wrists and shoulders.
  • Mosquitoes love laying their eggs in still water so dump any pots or tires that contain water.
  • If you are where citronella plants grow, look for one and break one off a twig. The smell may discourage the mosquitoes.
  • Mosquito swatters can come in many shapes and sizes. Any item that will make your arm longer, and therefore your swing faster, will suffice, including rolled up magazines.
  • Keep doors closed.
  • Try not to stay outside for long periods of time.
  • Try using electric bats, they're cheap and very helpful.
  • Mosquitoes hate lavender, basil, and mint. Try putting them in pots or make them into repellent spray.
  • Consider using citronella candles or torches at the perimeter of your patio or deck to create an environment with fewer mosquitoes.
  • Before you go to bed, put your fan on full blast. The air blowing from it will make a mosquito's path awry and keep them away from you.
  • Apply coconut oil on the skin to prevent from mosquitoes.


  • Mosquitoes tend to be most active at dawn and dusk - take extra care during these periods.
  • If you are going to jungle areas, research malaria prevention.
  • Always remember DEET is a toxic substance. Use sparingly.
  • Ultrasonic mosquito devices repel mosquitoes by emitting a high-pitched noise that is supposed to simulate the sound of the dragonfly, the mosquito's natural predator. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

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