Mosquitoes. This year the prospect of getting bitten is more unappealing than ever, particularly with increased awareness of and rising concerns over the diseases mosquitoes can transmit, like Zika, West Nile, dengue, etc. Even if it’s just those itchy bites that we’re all too familiar with, the fewer mosquitoes feasting on us the better. So, how to make yourself a less appealing prospect to the little buggers? While there’s no one perfect path to a bite-free summer, you can fight back in a variety of ways without having to poison yourself in the process. This season, try a few of our healthier mosquito-repelling tips, and send those nasty creatures elsewhere to dine.
1. Mosquitoes Love Some People More Than Others
If you’re one of those people who always seem to get bitten, it’s because you’ve got what they want, namely blood, and if you’ve got type O, studies indicate you’ll likely be the most popular guest at the mosquito buffet, compared to those with types A or B running through their veins. So all you type Os out there might want to ramp up your repellent efforts, particularly this summer.
2. Mosquitoes Like A Little Heavy Breathing
To attract mosquitoes, simply exhale. They’ll be able to pick up your scent—from up to 150 feet away—using the carbon dioxide you’re exhaling as a sort of dinner bell calling them to the table. Granted, holding our collective breath for the summer isn’t an option, but heading inside during peak hours is, so limit outdoor activities during mosquito-biting prime time.
3. Mosquitoes Like You Dirty, Sweaty, And Perfumed
The more scent you’ve got, the easier it is for mosquitoes to find you and take a bite. They’re attracted to all sorts of fragrances, from the ones we spray on ourselves to the ones we waft after intense exercise, like lactic acid, assorted bacteria, ammonia, and so on. So, if you’re out sweating round the track on a steamy summer day, hit the showers as quickly as possible so you don’t attract a stinging crowd. Another tip? If you tend to get bitten a lot, you may also want to lay off the brewskis—mosquitoes are attracted, for reasons not totally understood, to beer drinkers.
4. Mosquitoes Can’t Bite You If They Can’t See You
The flying nuisances rely on vision as well as scent to locate tasty morsels like us, so make it a little harder for them by dressing in white or light colors instead of city-chic black and navy. Long sleeves and long pants will provide additional camouflage and coverage—making you even less appealing.
5. Smoke ’Em Out
Much as most of us would probably enjoy carpet-bombing the world’s mosquito population into another dimension, the chemicals necessary to do that would be terrible for our bodies and the environment, so cooler heads must prevail. To reduce exposure, making ourselves as unappealing as possible to mosquitoes is a great place to start. Next, it’s time to start laying on the bug repellents, which must be done with care. One of my favorites is Dr. Fedorenko True Organic mosquito repellent, because it’s DEET-free, clinically tested, and made with certified organic essential oils. Not only does it fend off mosquitoes, but the smell is wonderful to humans—the bugs, not so much.
6. Arm Yourself With Knowledge
The next step: Check out the latest research from the top-drawer team at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), whose staff is dedicated to finding products that are the least damaging to the human body. To help consumers make the most informed buying decisions possible, in April the EWG published its Guide to Bug Repellents in the Age of Zika, a tip-packed must-read, which ranks a wide range of repellents for toxicity and efficacy, and offers recommendations for both adults and children.