It’s hard to enjoy Orlando’s warm weather and beautiful wetlands when the world’s deadliest animal pierces your skin with six sharp needles every few minutes. Learn how to prevent mosquito bites in Orlando so that your fun, relaxing summer or family vacation doesn’t turn into a painful, itchy nightmare.
How to keep you and your family safe from mosquitoes? There are many ways to deter these pesky pests, but no method can guarantee 100% protection. From applying bug repellent to keeping mosquitoes out of the yard, here are 8 ways to prevent mosquito bites in Orlando:
- How to Prevent Mosquito Bites in Orlando
- What Will Not Work to Prevent Mosquito Bites
- FAQ About Preventing Mosquito Bites
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites in Orlando
1. Wear the Right Clothes
Before you visit the Orlando Wetlands Park, be sure you and your family wear clothes that protect your skin.
As much as you might want to wear a T-shirt and shorts in Florida’s heat, it’s safer to wear loose-fitting long sleeves and long pants, closed-toed shoes, and socks that cover your ankles (mosquitoes love ankles).
Pro Tip: Wear light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark and bright colors, so leave that black long-sleeve shirt at home. Mosquitoes are also attracted to heat, and light-colored clothes absorb less heat than dark clothes.
2. Apply Mosquito Repellent
Whenever you go out, take Off! or some other mosquito protection with you.
Applying bug spray to your clothes and skin is an excellent way to keep mosquitoes at bay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using EPA-registered insect repellents containing one of the following active ingredients:
- DEET (this is the most widely used ingredient in insect repellent)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are safe and effective. Only apply insect repellent to clothes and exposed skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing, as this may lead to skin irritation or overexposure.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician before applying insect repellent. Do not apply repellents containing para-menthane-diol (PMD) or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) on children under 3 years old.
Need help finding an insect repellent that fits your needs? Check out the EPA’s search tool.
3. Stay Away From the Water
You might want to rethink hosting your barbecue by the lake. Mosquitoes are high in numbers near lakes, ponds, and swamps because they lay eggs in stagnant water.
Pro Tip: Remember to drain your empty buckets, flower pots, and birdbaths every six days to avoid stagnant water in the yard.
4. Turn on the Fans
Mosquitoes have trouble flying in the wind. Bring out some box fans if you’re relaxing on the back deck. The gushing air will keep the mosquitoes away and cool you down under the Orlando sun.
5. Light Citronella Candles
Spending a relaxing evening on the patio or in your rock garden? Lighting citronella candles may provide some relief against mosquitoes. These candles work best when there is no wind to blow away the chemicals.
Keep in mind that relying on citronella candles alone isn’t enough to protect you from mosquito bites. Remember to wear protective clothing and bug repellent.
6. Keep Mosquitoes Out of the Yard
Who wants to unwind outdoors after a long day by slapping mosquitoes off their arms and legs? When mosquitoes prevent you from enjoying your Orlando yard, it’s time to take action.
Remove Stagnant Water
First things first: Make your yard less desirable to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes like to infest areas with stagnant water so they can lay eggs. Draining stagnant water from your yard every six days is a great way to eliminate their breeding ground.
- Remove water collecting in empty buckets, flower pots, trash bins, and other containers.
- Discard debris and broken items stored outdoors, such as pots and pans, tires, and old appliances.
- Remove water that collects on pool covers and tarps that protect cars and boats.
- Clean clogged rain gutters.
- Add a fountain or waterfall to your garden pond to help aerate the water.
- Keep your swimming pool well maintained.
- Empty birdbaths and pet water bowls.
Another Option: Pesticides
If removing standing water from your yard has little effect on the local mosquito population, contact a local mosquito control company to learn about pesticide options. Spraying your property with a natural or synthetic pesticide is an effective way to get mosquitoes under control.
However, there are some drawbacks to using these pesticides:
- Pesticides usually provide a short-term solution against mosquitoes. Why? Because mosquitoes in the surrounding area will quickly reinfest your yard.
- Because pesticide protection is short-lived, you’ll need to pay for frequent treatments.
- Most residential mosquito control companies use pyrethrins or pyrethroids to control mosquitoes. These are broad-spectrum insecticides that are harmful to beneficial insects.
Make it a Community Effort
Your efforts to control mosquitoes in your yard may prove futile if your neighbors aren’t maintaining their pool or stagnant garden pond. The mosquitoes from their yard will migrate over to yours.
Mosquito bites aren’t only an itchy nuisance; mosquito bites can be dangerous. These blood-suckers cause mosquito-borne diseases in humans, including the West Nile virus, malaria, and Zika virus. This insect is responsible for over one million human deaths each year.
Educate your neighbors on the risks of mosquito bites and how they can manage these flying insects in their yards. Consider partnering with a local mosquito management program to learn more about how the community is being educated about mosquito-borne illnesses.
7. Install Mosquito Nets
Ensure a peaceful evening outdoors by installing a mosquito net. Hang the net from trees to protect your hammock, or set up a pop-up tent around your outdoor dining area.
8. Avoid Peak Hours
Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn. Plan your day so that most outdoor activities aren’t during these peak mosquito hours.
What Will Not Work
As you stroll through your local garden center or home improvement store, you might notice some products advertising to control mosquitoes, like bug zappers and insect-repelling plants.
While these products may deter a mosquito or two (or online testimonials might sing their praises), there’s little scientific evidence to support their efficacy against mosquitoes.
Bug zappers use ultraviolet light to attract mosquitoes and zap them with electrocution. Yet the problem is that they attract most bugs, killing an estimated 350 billion beneficial insects a year in the United States. In other words, bug zappers might be doing your yard more harm than good.
Bat boxes provide a cozy and inviting habitat for bats, just like your birdhouse invites birds. If your yard is full of mosquitoes, bats are likely to have a field day, right?
Well, not exactly. Bats do eat mosquitoes, but they’re much more likely to hunt for bigger meals that can provide energy. In other words, while they may eat some of your yard’s mosquitoes, it’s not an effective way to protect yourself from mosquito bites in Orlando.
Some gardeners and homeowners like to grow plants advertised to repel mosquitoes, such as the citronella plant. But it’s not the plants themselves that repel mosquitoes, but rather the oil inside them. You would need to crush the plant and extract the oils to have any effect on the mosquitoes.
The bottom line: Growing these plants outdoors isn’t likely to control mosquitoes in your yard.
Sonic and Ultrasonic Repellers
Sonic and ultrasonic devices are designed to emit sounds that ward off female mosquitoes (only the female mosquitoes bite), such as the sounds of male mosquitoes, dragonflies, and bats. But according to the Colorado State University Extension, most of these devices have shown no repellency when tested in the laboratory or field.
FAQ About Preventing Mosquito Bites
Your home ought to protect you from mosquitoes, not invite them in. Here’s what you can do to keep these bugs from pinching you indoors:
• Close doors that lead outside.
• Close windows that don’t have screens.
• Ensure door screens and window screens are in good condition.
• Turn on fans to increase air movement.
• Surround your bed with a mosquito net.
Avoid letting your pet outside from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Remember to drain your lawn of stagnant water so that mosquitoes are less likely to frequent the yard and disturb your pet.
The most threatening disease mosquitoes can pass to your cat or dog is heartworm. Talk to your veterinarian about the best mosquito repellent for your pet. Never apply repellents on your pet that are intended for humans.
If mosquitoes sucked your blood while you waited in line for rides, Disney World wouldn’t be the happiest place on earth. That’s why Disney World takes its mosquito control very seriously.
Disney World relies on a variety of techniques to monitor and control mosquitoes, including:
• Removing still bodies of water.
• Spraying liquid garlic into the air as a mosquito repellent.
• Raising chickens on the premises. (Disney tests their blood for mosquito-borne illnesses.)
The essential oils of a few plants have shown repellency against insects. Keep in mind that protection is often short-lasting (usually less than 2 hours) and does not demonstrate as effective protection as DEET.
According to the PennState Extension, the following essential oils have been shown to repel insects:
When to Hire a Pest Control Pro
Wearing bug spray and removing standing water from your Orlando yard are great ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites. But sometimes, a mosquito infestation can become so severe that you need professional help. Hire a local pest control professional who can develop a treatment for your yard and get those mosquitoes to buzz off.
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