Fighting Mosquitos

Summer in the Northwest is gorgeous. There are the trips to the beach or Gorge to take in the views or the camping with friends and family or the trips to pick up seasonal fruits and veggies. Then, there are the bothersome mosquitos that come out each evening to nosh on you and your family as the sun goes down. They are so annoying, aren’t they?! They can make a lovely summer evening a huge hassle, but we can lessen the insect assault.

Keeping Mosquitos Away

Mosquitos can sense carbon dioxide and other smells, which is how they find people and animals to annoy and bite. Turns out being a mosquito magnet is unfortunately true! One study confirmed that some people give off a naturally “delicious smell” for these bugs.

But, before you bring out the insect repellent, try these ideas for reducing mosquito bites.

· Wear loose, thick, light-colored clothing. In Oregon, the days can be hot and the evenings cool; so, it’s natural to bring layers to stay warm. These layers can be an effective method for preventing mosquitos from biting. Interestingly, “mosquitoes can’t see light colors as easily as they can dark colors,” according to these entomologists. The bugs also have a hard time getting through loose and thick fabrics.

· Wear the right “smell.” A 2023 study demonstrated that soap smells can increase or decrease a person’s attractiveness to mosquitos. The authors explained that more research needs to be done to narrow down which soap smells are better or worse. But the good news for us: we already know that these bugs dislike oil of lemon eucalyptus. Even the CDC recommends this oil as an option for repellant. Other smells that have shown promise: garlic, basil, and peppermint. I recommend TerraShield Spray, which combines many of these aromas — minus the garlic!

· Add more plants to your outdoor space. You might consider planting garlic, basil, and peppermint around your outdoor patio, making the space less attractive for bugs in general. This Bob Vila article lists 15 plants that help repulse bugs, including mosquitoes.

· Lay down cedar mulch. In addition to the plants above, various types of insects seem to show an aversion to cedar.

· Light a candle! We’ve all seen the citronella candles, however, they can be quite toxic. Look for more natural candles with less chemicals and more ingredients like lemongrass or lavender. You probably can’t go wrong using a candle with the essential oils from the plants listed in the above Bob Vila article. However, the most non-toxic way to ward away those pests is to diffuse citronella from a diffuser. You can get diffusers that charge and unplug to be placed anywhere (like under your table or chair on your patio!) Check out my website!

· Install proper drainage. Keep the pooling water to a minimum in your outdoor spaces and you’ll reduce the breeding places for mosquitos.

· Install an outdoor screen. There are various types of screens … some will drape a small table; others attach to doors and sliders, covering entrances and exits; or large ones can encompass a whole deck. For those who love to be outside and live near water, these can be worthy investments.

· Make or buy an insect trap. This yeast-and-sugar trap, which is recommended by pest control specialists, is almost like a science experiment that you can do with your kids or grandkids. Also, there are some mosquito traps that you can purchase; I haven’t tried them personally, but here are some reviews if you’re looking for more information. And as a bonus, if you’re having difficulties with the other infamous bugs (wasps and yellowjackets), here are some reviews for trapping those awful insects.

Sure, mosquitoes are annoying, but at least there are options that don’t require covering ourselves in chemicals. Here’s to a happy, non-toxic, bug-free summer!