Sunday, June 5, 2011

10 Bizarre Tips For Mosquito Prevention—True or False?

Even though it's not officially summer until June 21, the fact is that Memorial Day has come and gone and it's now the summer season. In most states school is out and summer vacations are underway.

And summer time means being outdoors whether a picnic in the park, a barbeque in the backyard, or a camping trip. Unfortunately, being outdoors has one very large stigma attached to it—mosquitoes. With this year's excessive amounts of rain and flooding in many parts of the country, that will undoubtedly translate to more mosquitoes than usual which is not good news for the outdoor enthusiast.

I recently came across an article listing 10 bizarre tips for dealing with mosquitoes, some of them real and others merely rumor. Here's that list.

Tip #1) Drink Lots Of Beer
This is a rumor. The reasoning behind this wishful thinking tip is that alcohol and yeast are not appealing to mosquitoes. In reality, the opposite is true. Mosquitoes prefer the blood of beer drinkers over anyone else.

Tip #2) Fire Up A Bubble Machine
This is real. It's been shown that mosquitoes have been repelled by soapy solutions. This is less about bubbles and more about the soapy suds.

Tip #3) Mix Up Some 'Dew
This is sort of real. Someone made a suggestion that mixing up a solution of Mountain Dew and dish washing soap, putting it in cups, and leaving them around the yard would keep mosquitoes away. Attracted to the soft drink and repelled by the soap. Perhaps save the Mountain Dew for the refreshment stand?

Tip #4) Wear Only White
This is a rumor. The theory behind this is that when you wear bright and dark colors your clothes absorb heat which attracts all kinds of bugs including mosquitoes. In reality, when it's hot outside you're going to have a higher body temperature no matter what you wear.

Tip #5) Rub Chives On Your Pulse Points
This is real. But do you really want to do it? Mosquitoes do not like the smell of chives, but that also applies to the friends and family around you.

Tip #6) Eat Plenty Of Garlic
This is real. But, as with the chives in tip #5, do you really want to do this? If you happen to be eating a garlic laden meal, mosquitoes hate you. And you'll also be repelling vampires if you're eating this garlic laden meal at night when they're out and about.

Tip #7) Vacuum Them Up
This is real. However, how many of us have the reflexes and eyesight to be able to vacuum a mosquito in mid air?

Tip #8) Try This App
This is real. But there are reservations about doing it. There are a few iPhone apps available that are designed to put out a noise that repels mosquitoes. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on all varieties of mosquito and it drives cats and dogs nuts.

Tip #9) Rub Yourself With Fabric Softener Sheets
This is real. This tip agrees with tips #2 and #3 about mosquitoes not liking the taste or scent of soap. However, it sounds as if it would be irritating to the skin.

Tip #10) Spritz With Mouthwash
This is a rumor. It has been suggested that using a spray bottle and spritzing yourself with a 10 to 1 mix of water to Listerine will repel mosquitoes. It's true that the menthol and eucalyptus in the mouthwash doesn't appeal to them, but the 10 to 1 dilution negates that. And applying mouthwash directly to your skin will dry it out.

So, there you have it—the bizarre suggestions for avoiding the mosquito bites that seem to come along with summer's outdoor activities. Perhaps it's best to stick to the conventional choice of a product manufactured as an insect repellent. I, personally, find that Cutter Insect Repellent is a brand that works well.


AJ Nuest said...

I was once told to spray our campsite with Listerine, all the surrounding area, the ground outside our camper, etc., etc. This worked for us, although I didn't dilute it, I used full strength. And having two small kids, I preferred this over dousing the area with harsh chemicals.

Samantha Gentry said...

AJ: Without diluting it, you have that medicine small and taste that mosquitoes don't like. That must have taken a lot of bottles of Listerine, though. :)

Thanks for commenting.

Lilly Gayle said...

I'd heard about the Listerine trick, but it was the brown kind and you're supposed to pour straight into shallow dishes and place it around the area where you're entertaining to repel the critters. The fabric sheet trick works unless you're on Portsmouth Island, NC in August. Then, the only thing that could possible work on those mega mosquitos and biting flies is mosquito netting! We wernt through 2 cans of off while touring the abandoned village and we were still eaten alive.

Samantha Gentry said...

Lilly: There are definitely places where the mosquitoes are big enough to swoop down and carry off small animals. :)

Caroline Clemmons said...

We have deliberately attracted swallows, purple martins, bluebirds, and other insect eating birds to our yard. The swallow do make a mess under their nests, but I prefer that to mosquitoes. I'm allergic to the mosquito stings and even run fever if I have more than one or two.

Samantha Gentry said...

Caroline: That's a good idea about the birds. As you said, messy beneath the nests but far better than mosquito bites.

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

I live in Alaska. The interior, about 28 miles north of Fairbanks, and we are in the bush. Samantha--you are dead on about mosquito's in some places being big enough to cart off small animals...LOL.
I try to be careful and not let them in the house but its not kids running in & out that let those bloodsuckers into my house. It is my husband! The dear man gets his hands full of whatever and walks in but leaves the door open. Then of course they don't bite him...they nail me. When I'm asleep. In the bed.
I was so mad last week when I awoke in the morning, and my boon was itching really bad. I run to the bathroom to find that I was bit right next to my nipple, and I about cried...LOL
Of all the indignities.
Needless to say I now have a mosquito swatter that has a small electric charge to fry them suckers when they invade my home....and do a skeeter hunt of my bedroom before crawling into bed.
Beware of skeeter's not fighting fair... *S*


Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Sorry about the mistype. I meant to say "boob".
Ah the indignities of it all.....:)


Samantha Gentry said...

Darcy: I have a friend who used to live in Alaska and tells tales of the summer bug/insect things, so I've heard stories of the "killer mosquitoes" up there. Good luck with the rest of the summer.

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Thank you...I don't know whats worse right now. The skeeter's or the forest fire across the valley on the mountain across from my mountain. You'd think even the smoke which usually chases the skeeter's would chase them away. Nope. No affect....
skeeter's are nasty critters.....LOL

Judi said...

I lived for 30 years in Minnesota where the mosquito is the unofficial state bird. I've heard of many of the suggestions and tried some, but the best keep-away product I've found is lemongrass oil by Bert's Bees. It doesn't have DEET and it works as good or better than Off.

Samantha Gentry said...

Judi: Yes, those who live in Minnesota definitely have a HUGE mosquito problem. I was in Minneapolis one summer and suffered through lots of bites even though I tried several repellent products. I've heard that all the Bert's Bees products are good.

Judi said...

Yeah. The thing about Minnesota is that with 10,000+ lakes, it's nothing more than a huge swamp with a few solid places where they've built cities ;-) Loved living there, tho.