*Any products featured are selected by our editors. When you make a purchase through a qualifying link, we may earn a commission via affiliate programs with Amazon.com and other retailers.*
Along with long-anticipated cookouts and backyard patio gatherings, summer's arrival also means the return of mosquitoes. It’s not just the itchy welts. Mosquitoes can be dangerous, spreading diseases such as West Nile and Zika. In short, mosquitoes are not welcome summer cabin guests.
While it’s tempting to blast a chemical solution at the problem, it isn’t the most effective strategy. Instead, the key to success is a multi-pronged approach: hit them hard by repelling and killing them, and interrupt their lifecycle by creating a hostile environment for breeding.
Here's what you need to know about mosquitoes at the cabin:
Which Mosquitoes Bite?
Mosquitoes come in 3,000 different varieties, many of which will not bite humans. In fact there are just 200 or so species in North America, and just a handful are responsible for the transmission of disease in humans. These bugs are important food sources for any number of creatures, such as migrating birds and beautiful dragonflies.
Only females have the equipment to bite, inserting two proboscis tubes into skin. One injects an anti-clotting enzyme, and the other sucks blood into the mosquito.The blood is used for their own sustenance as well as providing a source of protein for the 100 or so eggs a female lays in her lifetime. Simple repellant deprives the bugs of essential food.
Get Rid of Mosquitoes: Backyard and Porch
Know what attracts them–and when.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide from exhaled breath, chemical markers in sweat and even your body temperature. Dark colored clothing also bring them in. Unfortunately the evening and early morning hours are prime feeding time. Expect there to be more of them with more aggressive behavior.
Use a Fan
Oscillating fans make wind, which makes for difficult flying conditions. Keep the bugs at bay with an outdoor ceiling fan or even a floor box fan. Added bonus: the breeze is nice on hot day.
Keep it Dry and Tidy
Keep the yard and garden trim. Mosquitoes love dark, damp, and cool. Keep the grass short and manicure the shrubbery. All mosquitoes need water to breed, particularly standing water. Take a look at your flower pot stands, kids toys, even watering buckets. Water removal or treatment interrupts the nursery environment.
Address Pools & Ponds
If you have a pool, keep the cover on when you’re not using it. If you have a pond, consider applying a larvicide such as BTI, which is a naturally-occurring bacterium found in soil that produces toxins that kill mosquito larve. But it’s non-toxic to humans, birds and animals.
Reach for Repellant
According to the Cleveland Clinic, you can feel completely safe using bug sprays that contain DEET, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved DEET for use in people of all ages, including children.
As for how much to use, take note! Higher percentages don't equal more effectiveness. Cleveland Clinic reports: "Higher concentrations of DEET don’t work better, they just last longer. If you’re taking a short hike or spending an hour by the bonfire, reach for lower concentrations. Products with 10% DEET should repel bugs for about 2 hours, while those with concentrations of 20% to 30% last around 5."
Try Modern Technology
Try a Thermacell device, which emits a scent-free, 15- to 20-foot protection zone with a no-mess repellant. The containers are easy to refill and easy on the pocketbook.
Get Rid of Mosquitoes: Inside Your Cabin
Close Gaps and Cracks
Fix gaps in your screens and windows. Door strips work like magic.
Hang a Net
Old fashioned mosquito nets are inexpensive, and really effective. Hang the tight netting from the ceiling and drape over your bed, and on hot nights you can sleep on top of the covers with no worries.
When to Call Pest Control
Be realistic about what your non-lethal efforts can accomplish. Citronella tiki torches and eucalyptus oil candles are pleasant, but only mildly effective. Some of the do-it-yourself chemical applications may solve your problems, but some people may need to call for serious help.
If you live in a particularly tough mosquito environment, you may want to consult with local pest control companies. Trained professionals have the know-how to work with eradication at all life stages, and more importantly, have the skills and tools to safely apply chemicals.