Picture sitting on your verandah, admiring the dramatics of the sky during the golden hour. Enjoying the moment, you feel something like a pin-prick on your arm. That sinking feeling sets in - your lovely evening is being disturbed by a familiar companion - a mosquito. You swat that one and then discover there’s another mosquito sitting on your leg and the next thing you know, there’s a small garrison flying around you, mounting attacks with swellings, itches and rashes.
Rashes and itches from an allergic reaction due to mosquito saliva is just one discomfort caused by mosquitoes.
A simple mosquito bite can cause deadlier outcomes than swelling, redness and rashes. Mosquitoes are carriers of many severe diseases that afflict humans (and animals in some cases). Every year, around 390 million people are infected with dengue, and now, hundreds of thousands of cases of zika.
Mosquito borne diseases which are prevalent in Australia include:
- Ross River virus
- Barmah Forest virus
- Japanese encephalitis
- Murray Valley encephalitis
- Chikungunya virus
- West Nile virus kunjin subtype
- Yellow Fever
- Zika virus
There are three types of mosquitoes that transmit mosquito borne diseases: Aedes, Culex, and Anopheles.
Symptoms from each mosquito borne disease can be both distinct and ambiguous. Some of these diseases may impose mild illness in individuals while some can be lethal. Mosquito borne diseases kill as many as 725,000 people globally as per WHO’s estimates.
Mosquitoes hold the higher ground in terms of its reproduction rate (they outnumber every animal on Earth but ants and termites) and due to its size, agility and ability to spread out in numbers quickly carrying virus/parasites that can cause diseases. In this regard, preventing mosquitoes from biting you at all and as a larger goal, eliminating breeding grounds for mosquitoes are efficient measures to prevent mosquito borne diseases for starters.
When mosquitoes become a regular problem, especially during their breeding seasons, maintaining a consistent routine to keep them away often proves to be effective. For example, you can install fly screens. But when it comes to long term management of mosquitoes, mosquito repelling plants or plug-in devices add value to other preventive measures taken to eliminate mosquito infestations near your home. Repellers can also help you deal with different species of mosquito having varied biting times.
Mosquito repellents can range from natural fragrances (mosquito repellant plants) to plug in devices.
Natural mosquito repellents
Humans have certain traits in their skins which attracts mosquitoes. These attractants can differ from one species of mosquito to another (for instance, Anopheles mosquitoes prefer bacteria and sweat). While some people opt-in for stronger, artificial repellents like DEET-based chemical repellents, these have severe health and environmental implications. The goal is to neutralise the attractants of mosquitoes, which can be achieved by natural ingredients too. Some noteworthy natural mosquito repellent plants are:
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Thyme oil
- Greek catmint oil
- Soybean oil
- Tea tree oil
- Neem oil
Plug in Mosquito Repellents
These are mosquito repellent devices which run on electricity. The underlying mechanism involves releasing insecticides in the air, which act specifically against mosquitoes and insects.
EnviroBug Mosquito Trap
One of the safest, hassle-free and eco-friendly ways to get rid of mosquitoes is to install a mozzie trap. These mosquito traps don’t have the awful smell of chemical repellents, the mess of zappers and the trouble of frequent repellent replacement. Mosquito Dry Killer Traps work by attracting mozzies to the trap using a titanium impregnated inner collar that releases small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2 is one of the major reasons mozzies are attracted to us). It signals a warm-blooded creature to suck blood from.
This, and the blue light spectrum, attracts them to fly in through the windows of the trap. A strong internal fan sucks them down into the basket attached to the bottom of the trap where the constant flow of circulating air kills them by dehydration. NO Smells! - NO stinky fluids to deal with! EnviroBug Mosquito Traps are easy to install, enviro-friendly and economical.
Mosquito borne diseases put humans at a great health risk, and the best way to prevent these diseases is to take precautions beforehand. Keeping your surroundings clean, decluttering your home, removing any source of stagnant water inside and around your house (especially in planters) and using the right repellent can help you prevent mosquito borne diseases and keep you and your family safe.
Before the female mosquito begins to drink blood, she injects saliva into the skin containing painkillers and anticoagulants that prevent blood clotting. These proteins cause itching, swelling and redness. Want to know why mosquitoes prefer to bite some people? Find out here!
The best colors for repelling mosquitoes, according to researchers at the University of Washington, are white, green, blue, and purple. That isn't because mosquitoes don't like these colors, but because they reflect heat and light, which mosquitoes really don't like, which is why they start to emerge at dusk.