Did you know that there are 3,000 species of mosquitoes worldwide? Or that these blood-sucking insects transmit more diseases than any other organism?
So, it’s no wonder that mosquitoes are a global scourge to public health.
In the US alone, 12 of the more than 200 species of mosquitoes spread germs to humans and other animals. From malaria to Zika and dengue, these are just a few of the diseases these bloodsuckers bring.
That’s why it’s crucial to avoid mosquito prevention mistakes to keep them out of your home. Otherwise, you may get sick, even with only one bite. Besides, incorrect implementation of prevention strategies would only be a waste of money.
To that end, we created this guide on the dos and don’ts of dealing with mosquitoes and barring them from your home. Read on so that you can avoid mistakes that can cost you not only money but your health, too.
1. Thinking All Insecticides Work on Mosquitoes
Pyrethroids are neurotoxins used widely in the chemical control of insects, including mosquitoes. As neurotoxins, they affect and disrupt the normal nerve functions of organisms. As a result, they paralyze and ultimately kill exposed insects.
For the longest time, that’s how pyrethroids managed to help in worldwide pest control. Unfortunately, though, their improper use led to many insects developing resistance against them.
That includes some mosquitoes, such as Anopheles gambiae, the vector of human malaria. This species can survive ten times the amount of insecticides needed to kill other pests.
As such, it’s vital to ensure the pesticide you’d use still works against mosquitoes. In the US, registered pesticides used in mosquito control go by the name adulticides. As per the US EPA, these include etofenprox, prallethrin, and permethrin, to name a few.
Some adulticides are available to consumers in small amounts. With proper use, they can help control the infestation of mosquitoes in and outside your home.
However, their incorrect use can pose risks to humans, animals, and plants. As such, it may be smarter to hire a licensed local mosquito control service instead. You can then ask them how to use adulticides the next time you need to reapply these chemicals.
2. Using Mosquito Repellents Not Approved by the EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency oversees and regulates the registration of skin-applied insect repellents. Registered products, in turn, have had their efficacy and safety data given to the EPA. That data comes from studies and tests done on the product.
Thus, only repellents with supporting data can make it to the EPA’s list of registered products.
By contrast, a non-approved product may not be as effective. Even if it appears to kill mosquitoes on contact, it may be doing so because of its extreme toxicity. This means it can be just as deadly to other living things.
That’s why you should never use products not registered with the EPA.
3. Applying Mosquito Repellent the Wrong Way
Even if you use the best mosquito repellents, they’d only go to waste if you misapply them. For example, one of the most common mistakes is applying them on sweaty or wet skin. Sweat or water could wash the product off and prevent the skin from absorbing it.
For the same reason, applying too little repellent could also defeat its purpose. However, this doesn’t mean you should apply liberal amounts of the product, though. Otherwise, you may end up irritating your skin.
Another common mistake with the use of skin repellants is thinking that they can last the entire day. Unfortunately, products with 10% active ingredient concentrations only last for two hours. By contrast, those with higher concentrations (i.e., 30%) can last for up to five hours.
As such, it’s imperative to mind the time you first apply the repellent. Then, if you’re going to spend more time outside, set the alarm so that you can apply more as needed.
4. Having Anti-Mosquito Plants But Forgetting About Their Saucers
Citronella grass, citronella geranium, and peppermint are some indoor plants that repel mosquitoes. Despite that, their smells are often pleasant to humans. They’re also pretty easy to grow and look really nice inside rooms.
However, potted plants can still attract mosquitoes if you forget about their saucers. The job of a plant saucer, after all, is to catch excess water draining from the pot itself. As such, it can collect water every time you water your plants.
So, if you forget to discard the water in your plant saucers, they can attract mosquitoes. For that reason, make sure you always keep your saucers free of standing water.
5. Installing Screens But Not Closing Them Properly
A 2018 study found that mosquitoes prefer entering holes 10 millimeters (0.39 inches) in size. However, these bloodsuckers are capable of squeezing their way into 8 mm (0.31 in) gaps.
That’s why your door and window screens should have holes no bigger than 8 mm. This way, they can serve as a mosquito prevention strategy but still allow air to flow in and out of your home.
Most importantly, keep your screens closed if you’re going to open the doors and windows. Even a gap of only a few mm can be big enough for these pesky insects to enter.
6. Using Bed Nets With Holes
Bed nets are meshed fabrics installed around bed frames, usually from the ceiling. They provide extra protection against mosquitoes while you sleep.
However, bed nets are soft fabrics, so they are susceptible to running, much like stockings. They can also catch on a sharp object, such as nails, resulting in holes.
If that happens, mosquitoes can find their way past these nets. So, be mindful when washing and installing these nets around your bed. If you see even a single hole in them, patch it up as soon as possible.
Be Smart and Avoid These Mosquito Prevention Mistakes
Keep in mind that mosquito-borne diseases can be debilitating and downright deadly. That’s why you should never let them land on your skin or give them access to your home.
So, starting today, avoid the mosquito prevention mistakes we outlined in this guide. This way, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones from these dangerous pests.
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