Here are a few interesting mosquito facts and a guide to the best repellents to use against the dreaded mosquito.
did you know?
Most mosquitoes, buzz in the key of C.
They buzz round your head as they are attracted to the carbon dioxide you breath out.
Only females bite.
The noise comes from their wings beating and this is their way of attracting the opposite sex, so when they are buzzing they are not biting.
It is generally only the females you hear buzzing.
They have an organ in their antenna, which was named the Johnston organ after the man that discovered it. It allows them to recognize the buzz of other mosquitoes.
There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes have a blood-type preference, favouring type O blood over type A or B blood.
Mosquitoes love women that are pregnant, the extra core temperature being given as the reason.
The human skin appears red to a mosquito - do not wear red.
People with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface attract mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes prefer Blondes.
They do not like people that eat Marmite and lots of garlic.
They love people that eat Bananas.
They love those who drink alcohol, especially beer!
They also love people that are overweight, both male and female...followed by those that sweat.
A mosquito's proboscis has 47 sharp edges on its tip to help it cut through skin and even protective layers of clothing. Perhaps this is where the rumour of “mosquito teeth” comes from.
Mosquito facts and Repellents
ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO
The tiger mosquito has begun to spread through the interior of the province
The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is a small black and white mosquito, about 1/4-inch long. The name "tiger mosquito" comes from its white and black pattern. It has a white stripe running down the centre of its head and back with white bands on the legs. Unfortunately, this mosquito can now be found in Spain.
The bite of the Asian tiger mosquito is not particularly irritating to most people, but they are persistent biters. The main difference between these and a normal mosquito is Asian tiger mosquito are active during the day. In addition to the pain caused by its bite, it is responsible for the spread of diseases such as chijungunya, dengue or Zika.
The life cycle of the tiger mosquito is very short, after it bites, the female lays its eggs wherever she can find small amounts of water, the larvae will emerge from them, turning into pupae and later into adult insects, this whole cycle takes just one week. To avoid their reproduction, remove objects that can accumulate water.
Mosquito facts and Repellents
GENERAL TIPS TO HELP
Blow them away
Almost any breeze—anything above 1 MPH—makes it very difficult for mosquitoes to fly. Plug-in fans are also a great deterrent, keep the flow of air directed at the lower half of your body; mosquitoes tend to fly very close to the ground to avoid wind, so directing the fan's force downward will block their approach. If you have an air-conditioning unit, turn that on.
Buy tightly woven clothes
Mosquitoes can't penetrate clothing that has a very tight weave. While cotton and linen typically aren't great armour against bug bites, many synthetic fibres—particularly high-tech athletic apparel—tend to be woven tightly enough to keep mosquitoes out. Any garment that offers sun protection will also have a tight enough weave to block bites.
Do: Wear these colours
Mosquitoes use their vision to search for food sources. and since they fly very close to the ground, they tend to find targets by looking for things that contrast with the horizon, dark colours stand out, but light colours are less attractive to them, they are particularly attracted to red, orange, black and cian (bright blue) but will avoid green, blue, brown and white.
THE BEST MOSQUITO REPELLENTS
Agua Del Colonia (available from all supermarkets and Perfumeries, either as a splash on or spray) ... own brand is fine, or Nenuco is a popular make... It will cost around 3€ for a large bottle. You can find this in the Baby stuff or Shower gel aisles......
This is what all us locals use, it has a lovely lemony smell, just spray/splash it on any uncovered skin, you can also sprinkle it over your bedding before going to sleep. It also helps to keep you cool and fresh in the hot summer months. There is also a body lotion version which is lovely.
HOME MADE MOSTUITO REPLLENT SPRAY - that really works.
Ingredients: Lavender cologne (Mercadona sells this 1.40€ for 750ml bottle - located near the shampoos and shower gels section).
Pure citronella oil.
Grab any spray bottle, pour in 250ml lavender cologne and add 8 - 10 drops citronella oil. Away you go. Cheap and natural.
Bottle of mint mouthwash.
Bottle stale beer.
Cup of Epsom salts.
Put into spray bottle, shake well and use around terraces and all outdoor areas, this is safe for plants and really does work.
A good spray once a month during summer will keep the mozzies away.
AVON SKIN SO SOFT, dry oil spray also is often recommended, make sure it's the original green version you buy.
Mosquitoes also hate Listerine mouth wash, put in a spray bottle and spray the surrounding area.
DEET based insect repellents
DEET was developed by the US Army in the 1950s and is the most effective and widely used mosquito repellent in United States. Anything with DEET in should not be used on infants younger than 2 months of age. Children above three months can use repellents with DEET concentrations of 30% or less. Mosquito repellents with higher concentration does not provide additional protection, but they provide protection for a longer period.
Mosquito facts and Repellents
Oil of citronella is an all-natural insect and animal repellent made from the distilled oils of different varieties of grass, according to the National Pesticide Information Centre. The main components in the oil are citronellol, citronellal and geranio (Geranium).
Citronella is a grass that mainly grows in some Asian countries and some islands of the South Pacific. It has a rich, crisp lemony aroma and thus bears the name Citronella. It’s most commonly used as a natural fragrant oil, in insect repellents, as well as in beauty, household and perfume products. Because it fights infections, bacteria and fungi, historically it’s also been used to sanitize surfaces and treat bites or parasites.
Unlike other varieties of pesticides, citronella does not kill mosquitoes rather it repels them and other pests, reducing the number of mosquitoes that land nearby.
There are lots of different Citronella products available the most popular being candles or wrist bands.
Citronella works by masking scents that are attractive to insects namely carbon dioxide and lactic acid in humans.
One benefit of using citronella as mosquito repellent is that it is safe and non-toxic to humans and animals (and even the insects). Although some people can have mild allergic reactions to the oil, even ingesting citronella will not affect humans it is simply broken down and passed out of the body.
Mosquito facts and Repellents
LEMON AND CLOVES
Mosquitoes detest the smell of cloves and all things citrusy. Cut two lemons or limes into halves and press cloves into each half. Place these on a plate in your room by an open window or beside your bed and kiss those mosquitoes' goodbye!
You can also make an infusion with the lemons and cloves, then mix it with baby shampoo and apply to the skin.
Despite the unpleasant smell of vinegar, it is a method to keep in mind to scare away mosquitoes, just place it in a glass in the room. Its strong smell will scare away any mosquitoes. Ideal for people who do not have a specially developed sense of smell, or use "white" vinegar, cheap as anything, and very effective, sold in supermarkets as "vinagre blanco" a glass of this, mixed 50/50 with water, place this beside open doors and windows.
Chamomile, in addition to being a digestive, is a perfect remedy against mosquitoes? To make a homemade repellent you will need a litre of water and 200 grams of chamomile. Boil the water and flowers for about 30 minutes, then remove it from the heat and, once it has cooled, rub the mixture on the body.
The sulphur in garlic repels mosquitoes, flies, ticks and fleas. Peel and cut several cloves of garlic and pour them into a bowl with a little water. Let it marinate for a few hours and then use this water to spray the house.
Mosquito facts and Repellents
HOMEMADE MOSQUITO TRAP:
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast
1 2-liter bottle
1. Cut the plastic bottle in half.
2. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle.
3. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.
4. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired.
5. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered, and place it outside in an area away from your normal gathering area. (Mosquitoes are also drawn to the colour black.)
Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.
Change your outside lighting - Certain lights attract bugs, opt for yellow lights instead of traditional white bulbs. The golden glow also makes for a more pleasant outdoor experience. Make sure to turn off your outdoor lights before going to bed.
Mosquito facts and Repellents
Mosquito coils: Like citronella candles, mosquito coils produce a smoke that confuses mosquitoes. The coils contain the insecticide allethrin. But once again, their range is limited, and they don’t work well when there is a strong breeze.
Electronic plug-in devices similar to the one pictured below can be purchased from most of the larger supermarkets for a couple of euros.
Take a B1 supplement. That one vitamin is Vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamine. the recommended dose is 25 - 50mg three times a day. Start taking these about 2 weeks prior to your holiday to give it plenty of time to get into the system. (Hence why mosquitoes don´t like people who eat a lot of Marmite).
If you like to garden, consider adding mosquito repelling plants such as basil, catnip, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint,
If you do have an allergic reaction to any insect bite, go to any of the local Farmacias who will advise on what the best treatment will be for you, be it cream or antihistamine tablets.
Plants that will help deter mosquitos
Grow some Geraniums, Citronella, basil, lavender and mint these will all help, place them in pots near your windows.
How to Stop Mosquito Bites from Itching
There are a lot of suggestions for soothing the discomfort of a mosquito bite. Some are common-sense, some medical and some just a little odd. But they all have advocates who swear they work. Among The Suggestions:
Don't scratch the bite. That only irritates your skin further and could lead to infection. Give it a light washing with soap and cool water.
Try calamine lotion. A mixture of zinc oxide and iron oxide and works as a cooling, all-purpose soother.
Apply a hydro-cortisone cream. The cream contains corticosteroids which will counteract the effect of the histamines and help reduce the swelling, which should give you some relief from the mosquito bite itch. An anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen will also help.
Use a cold compress or ice pack. Histamines dilate the blood vessels, filling the affected area with excess blood. Cold causes the vessels to constrict, so that the amount of blood is reduced around the bite.
Take an antihistamine. This won't work immediately, but a medication like Benadryl will prevent histamines from binding with receptors at the blood vessels. The vessels in the bite area return to normal, and the swelling and itching dissipates. Remember, you can take an antihistamine before going outside to minimize your allergic reaction to a mosquito bite.
Dab on some baking soda paste. adding a bit of water to regular baking soda, then applying the paste to the mosquito bite. The reason isn't clear, but it apparently helps relieve the itch.
Heat up a spoon and apply to the bite. The heat will destroy the protein that caused the reaction, and the itching will stop.
Rub on some Vics vapour rub.
Go homeopathic. Suggestions range from rubbing the bite with the inside of a banana peel to dabbing on toothpaste to covering the bite with mud.
Allergic Reaction - Symptoms
The more times a person has been bitten by mosquitoes, the more likely they’ll become desensitized over time. That means adults typically have less serious reactions to mosquito bites than children do. Common symptoms of mosquito bites include soft bumps on the skin that may become pink, red, and itchy. Symptoms may occur up to 48 hours after the initial bite.
Symptoms of a more severe allergic reaction may include - Large area of itching, lesions, bruises near the site of the bite, lymphangitis (inflammation of the lymph system), hives (at or around the bite), anaphylaxis (a rare, life-threatening condition that results in swelling in the throat and wheezing and requires immediate medical attention)
Allergic reactions aren't the only concern regarding mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can also transmit serious diseases, such as:
malaria, dengue fever, encephalitis (brain infection), yellow fever, West Nile Virus (found in North America), meningitis (brain and spinal cord inflammation)
Signs that it may be something other than an allergic reaction include - Fever, severe headache, body aches, nausea or vomiting, rash, fatigue, light sensitivity, confusion, neurological changes (such as muscle weakness on one side of the body)
Contact a doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Of course, it may not be the mosquito that is biting you it could be midges
Protecting your pets from Mosquito bites
Dangers of Mosquitoes for Dogs
Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm to dogs, (Dirofilaria immitis) this is a worm that infects the blood vessels and heart of a dog, injuring the dog’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems. If a mosquito bites an infected dog, it can ingest heartworm larvae within that dog’s blood. Those larvae are passed to the next dog that same mosquito bites, and then they mature into adult worms within that second dog’s body.
If left untreated, heartworms can grow up to a foot long. A dog with heartworm can appear lethargic, cough, or vomit, and have difficulty breathing. It is important to treat heartworm early on before significant damage can be done to the dog’s body. Visit your vet for treatment.
Heartworms are often thought of as a problem that only affects dogs, but mosquitoes can spread heartworms to cats too. Canine heartworm disease and feline heartworm disease are different, and a cat’s immune system often kills off the heartworm larvae, stopping the infection. As a result, cats develop adult heartworms only about 10 percent as often as dogs do. While dogs can have several hundred heartworms at a time, cats only have between one to three adult worms. Heartworm can damage your cats’ lungs and hearts just the same way that it can in dogs.
NEVER use DEET - NEVER use DEET on animals. This is dangerous to your pets. Citronella and eucalyptus oil may be safer but get the advice of your vet before using any mosquito repellent on your pet.
Keep Pets Indoors. If possible, keep your pets indoors early in the morning and from dusk onwards. Alternatively, put them in an enclosure fitted with a screen.
Because mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, it’s important to remove any standing water that may be present, change the water in your pet's bowl frequently, during hot weather.
Buy a good quality mosquito collar and change it as recommended by the manufacture.
Use a mosquito repelling shampoo.
There are certain natural ingredients that are safe for use on dogs. Lemon eucalyptus oil is one such ingredient, create a homemade spray, mix 25 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil and 4 oz of witch hazel. You can also combine these ingredients with some real vanilla extract or peppermint essential oil for even more benefit. Take note when spraying your dog to avoid getting any in their eyes.
Dilute verbena, lavender, pine, catnip, rosemary, basil, thyme, lemon eucalyptus, lemon balm, peppermint, and fennel. essential oils and dab them at the nape of your dog’s neck to naturally repel mosquitoes. Essential oils are extremely concentrated, so always mix them with a carrier oil before application.
Feed your dog some garlic to help repel mosquitoes! Dogs can safely consume 1/4 clove of garlic per ten pounds. Simply mince the garlic and add to your dog’s favourite food.