If you’ve ever spent any time in the South you know the weather is hot and humid and in the dead of summer it is downright miserable! While we wilt in the scorching summer temps, some pests thrive – especially mosquitoes! Mosquito season in the South starts in early spring and peaks in the middle of summer. Mosquitoes only need an inch of water to lay their eggs. Some of the most common habitats for mosquitoes are anywhere there is standing water. Some common places include:

  • swamps and marshes
  • clogged ditches
  • temporary pools and puddles
  • tree holes
  • old tires
  • buckets
  • toys
  • potted plant trays
  • plastic covers and tarps
  • clogged drains
  • bird baths

If you’ve ever been bitten by one of these pests you know that they leave behind an itchy, red, swollen mess. Unfortunately for both humans and their pets, mosquitoes can also transmit some pretty serious diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya. While most of these diseases have no vaccine and no cure, the number one way to keep yourself from contracting them is to avoid those pesky mosquito bites in the first place.  Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites this summer:

  1. Eliminate standing water around your home, especially in old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, and any other containers that can hold water.
  2. Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, and rain barrels at least once a week.
  3. Empty and change water in outdoor pet bowls daily.
  4. Check gutters for clogs which can cause water to pool. Clean them regularly, especially during the summer season. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs.
  5. Drain and fill any temporary pools of water around your home with dirt. Try to get your yard as level as possible.
  6. Keep swimming pool water treated appropriately and circulating.
  7. Make sure window and door screens are in good repair. Cover any gaps in walls, doors, and windows to keep mosquitoes from getting into your home.
  8. Keep doors and windows closed and stay indoors as much as possible, especially during the summer months.
  9. Keep your grass cut short and rake up any fallen leaves. Mosquitoes like to rest on grass during the day so keeping it short will eliminate this. Leaves can hold enough water for mosquitoes to breed so keep them raked up, as well.
  10. Replace your outdoor lights with yellow “bug lights.” These don’t eliminate mosquitoes but they do attract less of them than regular lights do.
  11. If you have to go outside, wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks to protect as much skin as possible.
  12. If you have to be outside in areas where there are a large number of mosquitoes, use head nets, long sleeves, and long pants.
  13. Use EPA-registered mosquito repellents but  be sure to follow precautions and instructions carefully.
  14. Avoid using scented bath products if possible. While the connection is unknown, studies have shown that mosquitoes seem to be attracted to fragrances found in shampoo, perfume, cologne, and lotion.