Mosquito bites are not only painful but can pose some serious health risks to you, your family, and pets. According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), mosquitoes are responsible for over one million deaths each year. Mosquitos carry and transmit several diseases & parasites including Zika virus, West Nile virus, malaria, elephantiasis, dengue fever, yellow fever, and dog heartworm  – some of which are exclusive to certain geographic areas – and their bites can cause severe allergic reactions.

Insect Repellent

The easiest and most effective way to protect against mosquito bites is to use an insect repellent with DEET when you’re planning to be outside. Most formulas are safe for everyone in the family, including pregnant women and babies.

Travel

It’s important to protect yourself when traveling to countries and areas with known mosquito-borne disease transmission. Visit the CDC’s travel website for current updates on health and travel risks related to mosquitoes. If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you’ll want to avoid countries with mosquitoes carrying Zika virus, since this can cause a serious condition in babies called Microcephaly.

Cover Up

Wear loose fitting, long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outside to protect your arms and legs from mosquito bites. If clothes are too tight, mosquitoes will often bite through clothing. You can also dress in light-colored clothes to minimize your attraction to mosquitoes; they’re drawn to darker colors. And you can further protect yourself by spraying clothing with DEET insect repellent before going outdoors.

Natural Remedies

There are proven, natural mosquito control methods you can use at home to minimize mosquito bites. Citronella has been used for years to deter mosquitoes naturally and is somewhat effective when combined with other prevention methods. Vitamin B and Tea Tree oil have also been known to help in repelling mosquitoes for some, depending on the type of mosquito. Some people consider themselves “mosquito magnets” and may not find these natural methods effective.

Keep Windows & Doors Shut

The best way to prevent mosquito bites while indoors is to utilize air conditioning, if you have it, and keep doors and windows and shut. If you don’t have A/C, make sure window screens don’t have holes, rips, or tears (fix or replace them if so) and consider using a mosquito net over your bed.

Eliminate Standing Water

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant, standing water. Avoid areas like lakes, ponds, marshes, and swamps, and get rid of sources of standing water around your home – bird baths, toys, clogged gutters and drains, kid’s pools, buckets and other containers, old tires, etc.

Avoid Exercising Outside

Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and warm bodies. Since exercising raises your body temperature and causes you to breath heavily, releasing increased amounts of carbon dioxide, you’re more likely to encounter mosquitoes and get bitten.

Use Fans

Mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers. If you’re spending time outside during peak mosquito season, try setting up fans on areas like decks, porches or patios to keep mosquitoes away.

Professional Mosquito Control

The most effective way to prevent mosquitoes and mosquito bites around your home or business is with monthly mosquito control treatments by a professional exterminator. Mosquito control service includes monthly treatments that target both adult mosquitoes and mosquito larvae at current and potential resting and breeding sites. Ask your local pest control company about eco-friendly mosquito control options that are family and pet-friendly, and just as effective as traditional, chemical treatments.