Mosquito Facts and the Best Repellents
Mosquito Facts and the Best Repellents
Here are a few interesting mozzie facts –
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 wing beats and it 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, favoring type O blood over type A or B blood.
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.
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 rumor of “mosquito teeth” comes from.
GENERAL TIPS TO HELP
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.
Mosquitoes can’t penetrate clothing that has a very tight weave. While cotton and linen typically aren’t great armor against bug bites, many synthetic fibers—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.
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 colors stand out, but light colors are less attractive to them.
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 aroun 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.
MOSQUITO HOME MADE 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. (You can get this in the Old Town, just down from the Post Office, Rosa Torres is the shop).
Grab any spray bottle, pour in 250ml lavender cologne and add 8 – 10 drops citronella oil. Away you go. Cheap and natural.
AVON SKIN SO SOFT, dry oil spray also is often recommended, make sure its 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.
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 Center. The main components in the oil are citronellol, citronellal and geranio.
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 not does 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.
Lemon and cloves
Mosquitoes detest the smell of cloves and all things citrusy. Cut two lemons into halves and press about five to six cloves into each hemisphere. Place these on a plate in your room or beside your bed and kiss those mosquitoes goodbye!
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 color black.)
Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.
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 dont like people who eat a lot of Marmite).
ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO
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 color pattern. It has a white stripe running down the center 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.
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.
How to Stop Mosquito Bites from Itching
There are a lot 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 an 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
- 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:
- 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:
- severe headache
- body aches
- nausea or vomiting
- light sensitivity
- 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…..