Nobody likes mosquitoes. And why would they? These irritating tiny creatures don’t just bite human skin and suck blood but also lead to serious diseases. Have you ever thought, why are mosquitoes so dangerous?
Why are Mosquitoes Dangerous?
While male mosquitoes do not bother you as they feed on plant juice and nectar, the female mosquitoes are what you should be wary about as they survive on human blood. It’s not just the itchiness and uncomfortable feeling of scratching the tiny bumps on your skin left by mosquito bites. It is the diseases that these mosquito bites bring along themselves that make these mosquitoes dangerous. Some of these are even deadly diseases.
Mosquitoes can give you Malaria. This is a disease mostly prevalent in Africa, Asia and Americas. Due to the malaria parasites inside the human red blood cells, malaria displays symptoms such as fever with chills and headache. In severe cases, patient goes into coma and then dies if proper treatment is not provided in the very first stages of malaria.
Mosquitoes are responsible for dengue fever. It is caused by the dengue virus. Widespread in tropical regions of the world, it causes sudden fever and acute pains in the joints. If not contained on time, dengue can lead to severe bleeding as well as failure of organs and even death.
Chikungunya is again a viral disease caused by infected mosquitoes. Often resembling the symptoms of dengue, chikungunya can bring on fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. There is no treatment for chikungunya and only symptoms can relieved. While most of the patients recover from chikungunya completely, in some cases joint pain remains there for several months, and sometimes for years.
Yellow fever is a hemorrhagic disease, again caused by female mosquitoes and is prevalent in South America and Africa. The symptoms of yellow fever include fever, nausea, and pain. It is cured in some days but in certain cases, a toxic phase follows that may cause damage to liver which first causes jaundice and then may lead to death if left untreated. However, there is a vaccine available for protection against yellow fever.
West Nile disease is perhaps the most dangerous disease caused by mosquitoes. In some cases, west Nile disease doesn’t display any symptoms and in other cases, there are such symptoms as fever, headache, chills, excessive sweating, weakness, swollen lymph nodes, drowsiness, joints pain and other flu like symptoms. In serious cases, dizziness and confusion is also there which may lead to decreased level of consciousness just like coma.
All these diseases are serious ones and thus you need to protect yourself against mosquito bites. But how to do so?
How to protect yourself against mosquitoes?
- If you live in a place that has lots of mosquito, try wearing full sleeves clothes and cover most of your bare skin.
- Try to wear light colored clothes as dark colors attract mosquitoes.
- Don’t use fragrant cosmetics like shampoos and deodorants as these attract mosquitoes.
- You may use an insect repellant cream or ointment and apply on your bare skin. Reapply it after every few hours.
- Don’t let water logging in open areas because it is where mosquitoes live and breed. Try and remove all water pooling areas around your house, these are the breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- If there’s such an open area close to your place that has pooled water and which you cannot remove, try not to go beside it or expose yourself to this, especially during early evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- If you keep water bowl for pets or birds in open areas, frequently change its water (preferably daily) and don’t let it become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- If you need to store water, always keep it covered.
- Mosquitoes are most dangerous during early evening hours, night and early morning hours when you are still sleeping. Therefore, use mosquito nets on your beds so that these parasitic insects do not get access to your body.
These were all preventive measures to protect you against mosquitoes and it’s really a task! What if you could be able to remove mosquitoes from your home and surrounding areas? That’s the safest thing you can do. But how to get rid of mosquitoes? Here are some tips and tricks for you.
How to get rid of mosquitoes?
When you take steps to eliminate mosquitoes, you not only get rid of the irritating skin itching and the annoying humming sound of mosquitoes near your ears but you also protect yourself against all the dangerous diseases that a mosquito bite can give you. Here are some remedies that you can adopt to get rid of mosquitoes.
1. Use Camphor to get rid of mosquitoes
Camphor is a white (sometimes transparent) flammable solid obtained from the wood of the evergreen tree camphor laurel. It has a strong aromatic odor that insects can stand. It purifies your surrounding area by repelling insects including mosquitoes.
How to use camphor as mosquito repellent
There are at least two ways to use camphor to get rid of mosquitoes.
Use camphor in water bowl
- Take a bowl, preferably having a wide open mouth.
- Fill half of the bowl with water.
- Now add a few camphor tablets in this water, you may use around 2-5 tablets or more. The bigger the room, the more camphor you will need in a bowl.
- Place this bowl in a corner of your room.
- Use a bowl for each of your rooms. You may even keep two bowls in two corners of a room. If doing so, you may like to use lesser camphor tablets in one bowl.
- Change the water in the bowl every second day.
- You will need to use new camphor tablets after 5-7 days as till this time, all the camphor gets evaporated.
Use camphor on hot surface
You can use any hot surface such as a diffuser or aroma lamp. You can even buy the special camphor lamps available in the market. If you have a mosquito repellant mat machine then use it to heat camphor instead of using the chemically laden repellant mats.
- Place a camphor tablet in a camphor lamp or aroma lamp (where you would have used essential oil), and light the lamp. That’s all, the camphor will evaporate due to heat and purify your environment as well as kill the mosquitoes.
- If using a mosquito repellant mat machine, place the camphor tablet on the plate meant for placing the mats. Plug in the machine and switch it on.
- While heating the camphor, keep all your doors and windows closed at least for 15-30 minutes. Open them only after this time.
Precaution: Keep camphor away from kids and pets. If ingested internally, camphor can be poisonous.
2. Use Dry Ice to eliminate mosquitoes
Why do you think, mosquito can trace us so easily? Why is when you sit anywhere, it doesn’t take even few seconds for these mosquitoes to locate you and start sucking your blood? Because they are attracted towards the carbon dioxide that you release while exhaling! Did you know dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide! Therefore, you can also use dry ice to bring out the hidden mosquitoes as dry ice too emits a lot of carbon dioxide. This ice acts as mosquito magnet. And what more, it is a cheap, environment friendly and an effective way to produce carbon dioxide in order to bring out the mosquitoes from their hidings so that you may get rid of them.
- Dry ice block of 5 pound (about 2.25 Kg)
- Mosquito trap
- Cloth bag
- Rope or something similar to be used for hanging the trap and dry ice
- Hang your mosquito trap 6-8 feet from the ground. Always use dry ice in an open area like garden or patio. Never use it in rooms as it emits a lot of carbon dioxide, enough to suffocate in a closed room.
- Place the dry ice block inside the cloth bag and hand it beside the trap
- The mosquitoes get attracted to the carbon dioxide released by the dry ice and as soon as they come near, the trap does its work.
- This remedy is best for large yards and gardens etc. for dusk to dawn solution regarding mosquitoes.
Precautions while handling dry ice
Dry ice is not good for humans too. Exercise the following precautions for using it for mosquitoes.
- Dry ice is very cold, so cold that it can freeze human skin cells. So wear gloves or use towel when touching dry ice. Never ever allow dry ice to come in contact with your skin.
- Never use dry ice in closed rooms or confined places like cars due to its suffocating hazard. It releases high amounts of carbon dioxide
- Don’t use airtight container to place dry ice. The expansion of CO2 gas may cause the container to expand and even explode.
- Keep dry ice out of reach of kids and pets.
3. Make a mosquito trap at home
You can make a mosquito trap right at home and get rid of mosquitoes without any difficulty. This trap uses sugary water and yeast that attract the mosquitoes. The sugary water is placed in a bottle that has a narrow opening through which the mosquitoes enter the bottle but are unable to get out. They stick inside the bottle having sugary water.
- A plastic bottle of around 2 liters capacity ( a little bigger bottle helps, but you can use any plastic bottle)
- Sugar- 1/4 cup
- Water- 1 -2 cups
- Yeast- 1/2 tsp
- Scissors or knife
- Tape (optional)
- Cut the bottle in to two parts using knife or scissors. The lower part will be 3/4 of the bottle and the upper part 1/4 portion.
- Place the sugar inside the lower part of the bottle.
- Pour the water over it
- Now add the yeast to the sugar and water mix. Yeast releases carbon dioxide to attract mosquitoes.
- Take the upper part of the bottle and place it in an inverted manner inside the lower bottle, just like a funnel. The mouth of the bottle will go inside the lower part holding sugary water.
- If needed, use a tape to secure the two parts of the bottle.
- Place the bottle at a place, preferably away from where people usually gather and sit in groups. Mosquitoes will get attracted to the CO2 released by yeast, will find way to the sugary water and get trapped in the bottle.
4. Homemade Mosquito Repellant
If you are fed up of the chemical laden mosquito repellants, why not try making a repellant right at home! While you get herbal mosquito repellants such as Lemon oil or eucalyptus sprays, you don’t actually know whether they are really herbal or not. If you want to be 100 percent sure about the absence of any harmful chemicals in your mosquito repellant, make this one all by yourself.
- Essential oil (cinnamon/lemon eucalyptus/ citronella oil)- 15-25 drops
- Carrier oil (Olive/ sunflower/ safflower/ grapeseed/ almond oil)- 2-3 tbsp
- Bottle/ Spray bottle
- Mix the essential oil and carrier oil and place them in the bottle or spray bottle
- You may now rub or spray the homemade mosquito repellant all over your skin and even on your clothes.
- If you want to make larger batches of this DIY mosquito repellant, add 10% of essential oil to your choice of amount of carrier oil. For example, if using 50 ml of carrier oil, add 5 ml of essential oil to make your natural mosquito repellant.
5. Coffee can help you get rid of mosquitoes
Many researches in the past few years have established the effectiveness of coffee in getting rid of mosquitoes, especially the species Aedes albopictus, or the Asian tiger mosquito can be effectively controlled by coffee. However, other species of mosquitoes have also been successfully eliminated using coffee during research studies. When you use coffee to eliminate mosquitoes, you hamper the growth of the larvae and thus the mosquito population is killed off. In fact, one of the studies has suggested that coffee can actually act as a deterrent and is able to keep the mosquitoes from laying eggs.
- Wherever there is stagnant water around your house that you cannot clean off, just sprinkle coffee grounds over such stagnant water.
- You may also dissolve some coffee in very low amount of water and keep them in bowls inside your house, like patio or deck. When mosquitoes feed on this aromatic liquid, they will not be able to lay eggs.
6. Use Neem to get rid of mosquitoes
In India, neem (Indian lilac) is used since ages for various medical purposes due to its effective anti-bacterial properties. It is, in fact, used as a natural insecticide too. Now various research studies have also proved that neem oil can be an effective organic mosquito repellant. Use neem in the following ways to get rid of mosquitoes.
- Mix equal amounts of neem oil and coconut oil and store it in a bottle or spray bottle. Rub it or spray it over your skin to keep the mosquitoes away from you.
- Add a camphor tablet to neem oil and place it in a bowl. Keep this bowl in your room to drive away the mosquitoes.
- If you have a mosquito repellant machine that comes with bottle of liquid repellant, you need to do this. Instead of chemical liquid repellant, fill the bottle with neem oil and place some camphor tablets in it. Now use this bottle with the mosquito repellant machine as usual.
7. Citronella repels mosquitoes
Citronella oil is a natural insect repellent. This oil is obtained from distilled oils of different grass. The main components of this oil, namely, citronellol, citronellal and geraniol seem to be the magic ingredients that repel mosquitoes. During a research study at the University of Guelph in Ontario, candles were made using 3% concentration of citronella oil. These citronella candles reduced mosquitoes by 42%. Why is this oil so effective? It is because it masks the human scent which attracts the mosquitoes along with the carbon dioxide released during exhalation.
- Light some citronella candles all around wherever you sit. This will keep the mosquitoes away from you.
- Add citronella oil with some carrier oil such as olive or almond oil and rub it over your skin.
8. Mint also helps to keep mosquitoes away
Along with using the carbon dioxide trail to locate a human being, mosquitoes also smell the scent of human skin. That’s why they can perfectly land on our exposed skin. This means mosquitoes have advanced smelling sense. This has been proved by research too. Therefore, we can surround ourselves with such strong smells that are not liked by the mosquitoes. Mint is one of such smells. Use it in different ways to get rid of mosquitoes.
- Spray some mint oil all around you to keep the mosquitoes away from you.
- Rub some mint oil on your exposed skin and relax
- You can also try growing mint shrub in your garden or in a pot and keep it in your balcony or patio where you sit often.
9. Make herbal spray to get rid of mosquitoes
Catnip plant is a natural mosquito deterrent. Nepetalactone is the essential oil found in catnip which drives away the mosquitoes. While you can always plant catnip around your place, you can also use it to make a herbal mosquito spray to deter them away. Rosemary is the other herb that has been used in this spray. This aromatic herb is also a deterrent for mosquitoes.
- Catnip leaves and stems (chopped)- 1/2 cup
- Rosemary herb (chopped)- 1/2 cup
- Hot water- 1-2 cups
- Place the chopped herbs inside a container or bowl.
- Pour the hot water over the herbs
- Cover the container and let it steep for one hour
- Open the lid and let it cool down
- Once it reaches to room temperature, strain the solution and fill it in a spray bottle.
- Use it as a mosquito repellant spray.
10. DIY scented mosquito repellant spray
If you enjoy the smell of aromatic oils, you can use them to make a mosquito spray. However, use those oils that are not liked by mosquitoes. Add one or two essential oils that have anti-bacterial properties. Mix them with a carrier oil and you have self made aromatic mosquito repellant spray in your hands. Here’s one recipe to help you out.
- Eucalyptus oil- 10 drops
- Cedarwood oil- 10 drops
- Tea tree oil- 5 drops,
- Geranium oil- 5 drops
- Jojoba oil- 2 tbsp
- Mix them all
- Rub on your skin after doing a patch test so that you may know you don’t have allergy to any of these oils.
- Don’t let the oils enter your eyes and keep it away from kids and pets.
11. Basil-Vodka Mosquito Repellant Spray
Many people find the combination of basil herb and vodka to be more effective than commercially available DEET mosquito repellents. Basil has always been an effective anti-parasitic herb and it repels mosquitoes too. Vodka is composed usually of ethanol and water. The commercially available mosquito repellants also use organic alcohol like ethanol as a solvent. It dilutes the active ingredient to the desired concentration and also helps in keeping all of the raw materials mixed properly. It is also helpful if you want to keep the solution useful for long storage purpose.
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- Half a cup of hot water
- Half a cup of vodka
- Place the basil leaves in a non-reactive bowl or container
- Pour the hot water over it.
- Let it steep covered for 2-4 hours.
- Strain the solution using a sieve or cloth.
- Discard the squeezed leaves
- You now have basil extract in the form of a liquid. Pour it into a spray bottle.
- Now add vodka to this and shake well.
- Spray it over your exposed skin to keep the mosquitoes away.
How to get rid of mosquitoes in your yard?
To get rid of mosquitoes in your yard, from among the earlier remedies given here, you can use the one that tells you how to make a mosquito trap and the other one that uses dry ice. Here are some more ways to get rid of mosquitoes from your yard or garden.
1. Grow mosquito repellant plants
There are many plants that repel mosquitoes. plant them outside your house, in the garden or yard. You can plant them in one bed or throughout the open space. These plants can be the following.
- Citronella or lemongrass
- Scented geranium
- Bee balm or horsemint
- Pitcher plant
2. Make Garlic spray for yards to repel mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can’t stand the smell of garlic. While you cannot use garlic spray inside your house (for obvious reason!), you can always use it in your yard to get rid of mosquitoes.
- Garlic cloves- 8-10
- Mineral oil- 2-3 tsp
- Dish soap- 2 tsp
- Water- 1 liter
- Spray bottle
- Mince the garlic cloves and place it inside the jar
- Pour the mineral oil over the minced garlic and cover the jar
- Let it infuse for a day
- After about 24 hours, strain the garlic infused oil using sieve. Extract as much oil as you can. Discard the garlic residue
- Now add dish soap to this garlic infused oil
- Pour this into the spray bottle
- Add water to this.
- Cover and shake well to mix all the ingredients.
- Spray this natural garlic mosquito repellant in your yard and garden to get rid of mosquitoes.
Precaution- Before using this spray all over your yard, test it so that you can be sure that the spray is not damaging your foliage. For this, spray it over only a small area initially. Then wait for about 2-3 days. If you see your foliage becoming yellow, dilute the garlic solution with more water and test again on another portion. When you see it’s safe then only use it for whole of your yard.
3. Drain water from containers regularly
It only takes 8-10 days for eggs of mosquito to become adult mosquitoes. So, it is never recommended to let water stand in the yard containers for days together. Plant saucers, dog bowls, and bird baths, all need to be emptied regularly. Fill them with fresh water every second or third day.
4. Throw the waste away
They are mosquito habitats, such as the worn out old tires. They can hold water and even a little water is sufficient for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Clean the gutters and don’t allow leaves etc. to get collected at one place. These are organic habitats that can provide all the things essential for mosquito survival.
Take utmost care so that no water gets stagnated inside your yard because once they breed here, your home is not far away. Once the mosquitoes increase their population, it will tough to get rid of them easily.