It’s about that time of year again: with the warmer weather comes the peak season for mosquitoes. Bugs are just a part of going outside. But there are more ways than one to prevent the disease-carrying insects from giving you itchy red bumps this summer.
First thing’s first: Use a powerful bug spray.
Find an insect repellent with DEET (10-30% concentration) for the most effectiveness. Our favorite is OFF! Deep Woods. Apply your sunscreen first, and give yourself a good spray outside where the air is ventilated. Make sure you’ve covered everywhere from your face and neck to your ankles and feet. Mosquitoes will always find the hidden spot you forgot to spray. If you’re planning on staying out all day, remember to reapply as needed.
Avoid standing water.
Places like swamps are mosquito central. They love standing water and will lay their eggs in it. This includes even the smallest pools of water, so every three days, empty out any stagnant water around your place – like in kiddie pools, buckets, tires, trash bins, or flower pots – and allow them to dry completely.
Wear clothes that repel insects.
Long-sleeved shirts & pants will give you a great extra layer of protection. But they’re not always a feasible option – especially in the summer when the temp’s over a hundred degrees.
If you don’t want to douse your favorite shirts in bug spray, consider investing in clothes that already come treated with a strong repellent known as permethrin. Insect Shield was originally developed for the United States military, and sells a variety of fashionable casual and work wear. The insecticide is invisible, odorless, and lasts through at least 70 washes.
Some people also advise to wear light or neutral colored clothing, because the insects are attracted to darker colors (especially blue). It’s additionally best to avoid wearing perfumes and fragrances – particularly floral scents.
Run your A/C whenever possible.
Air conditioning won’t block out all mosquitoes. But the lower temps will deter them from coming inside, and keep you cool in the summer heat.
Attach bug screens to your windows and doorways.
St. Louis-based company The Skeeter Beater makes handy screens for cars, RVs, SUVs, vans, and trucks. They’re designed with polyester mesh (which allow plenty of air flow) along with durable magnets to hold the screens in place. You can read more about RV bug screen mods here.
If you have been bit, don’t scratch at it.
We know, it’s impossible to not scratch sometimes, but itching at your bug bite will make it worse. It just irritates and inflames the area even more, and will end up making the itchy bump last longer. For better temporary relief, apply calamine lotion with a cotton ball or use an anti-histamine cream on it instead.