Mosquitoes Beware!

mosquitoAs spring approaches and comes in full-force we have to be vigilant of insects that carry diseases and can cause health issues.  One of the most common insects in Missouri that we are all familiar with are the famous Mosquitos. 

There are things that can be done to help decrease the chances of being bitten by mosquitos.  Knowing the mosquito’s habitat, what attracts them and taking action against them are just three examples of how we can decrease the chances. 

Have you ever been outside in the evening enjoying time with family but are aggravated at slapping away mosquitos?  Mosquitos love dust and dawn.  They avoid direct sunlight and the heat of a summer day. During the day, they hide in dark, humid places like barns, plant vegetation and holes in trees.

Mosquitos are attracted by CO2.  This means, when people exhale, the CO2 released draws the mosquitos in.  Breathing is not an option to stay alive, so don’t stop breathing just to enjoy the outdoors. Try to refrain from activities and exercises that make you breathe harder around dusk and dawn.  Lactic acid also attracts mosquitos.  Lactic acid is a substance that is released by the body during sweating.  Lactic acid is also commonly found in shampoos, body washes and other cosmetic products.  Be sure to check the labels on personal care products for the ingredient lactic acid.  If lactic acid is in the ingredients, it is best to switch it out for one that is free of lactic acid.  The color of clothing is also something that attracts mosquitos.  Mosquitos love dark clothing. So, choose clothing wisely if time is being spent outside in the early morning or evening.

Taking action is up to you!  Be sure when outdoors to use a repellent.  Repellents with DEET are the most effective. For those who have a sensitivity to DEET, purchase a repellent that contains citronella oil.  This ingredient is similar to DEET as far as being effective again mosquitos. It is also necessary to reapply the repellent every few hours. Another action step is to drain all standing water around the house. Standing water serves as breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Ashley Ochs 

Southeast Missouri State University