Mosquito-free summer BBQs
Mosquitoes are highly visual, especially later in the afternoon, when their first mode of search for humans is through vision. However there’s plenty you can do to avoid an onslaught of mosquito bites at your next outdoor gathering:
1. Ban dark colors
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors (which absorb heat) including red, navy and black. Mosquitoes have sophisticated and highly sensitive heat sensors, and tend to be more attracted to those dressed in black or dark colors for this reason. So stick to wearing light colored clothing which is less attractive to some mosquito species. Long sleeves, long pants as well as shoes and socks will give added protection.
Some mosquitoes home in on the fragrances in soaps, shampoos and colognes. To avoid attracting even more mosquitoes, invest in some ‘fragrance-free’ products. White Rabbit Beauty promotes quality, cruelty-free beauty products and has an extensive range of fragrance free skin-care, hair-care and make-up. And try replacing your usual eau de parfum with some eau de Repellent instead. Deet, Picaridin, IR3535 and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE or PMD) are all endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control.
3. Blonde hair
If you or your guests are blonde – consider a hat. There is some research that indicates the reason mosquitoes seem attracted to blondes is that they are more likely to stand out in a crowd. Apparently this applies to redheads as well! And while some mosquito species are leg and ankle biters, some species prefer the head – so a hat makes good sense whether you’re blonde or brunette.
4. Family planning
Pregnant women are also at increased risk as they produce a greater-than-normal amount of exhaled C02. That’s because the body temperature of pregnant women is a degree warmer than everyone else, and they exhale 21% more carbon dioxide (C02), a known mosquito attractant. So if you want to spend your summer outdoors put your pregnancy on hold ‘til winter or fall.
Insecticides will kill landing mosquitoes so try spraying a little permethrin onto your clothing. It’s a fast-acting insecticide with some repellent activity as well, but should never be applied directly to the skin. There’s also a range of permethrin treated ready-to-wear clothing available for adults and children. Baby No Bugs by BabyLegs is an innovative range of kids’ legwarmers that are treated with Insect Shield® technology – an odorless insect protection that stays on the product, not the skin, and lasts through 70 washes. So the only creepy crawlies you’ll see on your little one will be the cute insect prints on their BabyLegs!
6. Lactic acid
Lactic acid which is secreted by sweat glands, is another mosquito favorite, and is one of the reasons why those people who work up a sweat, waving their arms about to defend themselves will become even more of a target.
Try relaxing on the nearest deck chair! Mosquitoes sense movement and head towards it. When you pant from exertion, the smell of carbon dioxide (C02) from heavy breathing draws them even closer. Mosquitoes can smell their dinner, that’s you, from an impressive distance of up to 50 meters which doesn’t bode well for people emitting large quantities of C02.
There are a number of herbs that not only taste and smell good, but have excellent mosquito repelling properties. Try throwing some sage or rosemary on your next grill. Their aromatic smoke will help repel a whole host of flying insects, including mosquitoes.
Beer drinkers beware. A study released by the National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that people who drink beer are more attractive to mosquitoes. Just one beer could make you a target for the biters. The reasons for this are unclear as yet but it could be that people breathe a little harder after a cold one or their skin is a little warmer.
10. Meal replacements
Provide mosquitoes with a meal replacement. Mega-Catch traps take advantage of mosquitoes’ sensory abilities by tricking them with features that mimic the smells and visual stimuli associated with people. The idea is to make the trap attractive to mosquitoes by emitting Octenol, lactic acid, heat, light, moisture or C02 – or a combination of those to lure mosquitoes. The mosquitoes come in to check out the prospective meal, get sucked in by the fan then trapped in a container where they die.However, operating your mosquito trap for the first time in anticipation of instant results will be disappointing, so don’t set up your new trap on the eve of an outdoor party or BBQ and expect it to keep the mosquitoes away. If you don’t want you or your guests to be on the menu – plan ahead and operate the trap for several weeks in advance of outdoor social occasions.