Forget about snakes, sharks and crocodiles. There’s a bigger — and yet, significantly smaller — predator in town: the mosquito.
Many people consider mosquitoes to be a mere nuisance. But the blood-sucking insects are actually among the most lethal pests on the planet, responsible for millions of deaths each year from the diseases they carry. According to the World Health Organization:
“In 2015 malaria alone caused 438,000 deaths. The worldwide incidence of dengue has risen 30-fold in the past 30 years, and more countries are reporting their first outbreaks of the disease. Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever are all transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.”
The health risk also appears to be growing in the U.S. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cases of disease linked to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas had more than tripled in the country since 2004. The CDC attributed the rise to increased global travel and trade, environmental changes and a lack of prevention efforts.
Chances are, a mosquito bite or two won’t land you in the ICU. But at the very least, the itchy bites are sure to bug you. Here, we’ve identified seven smart and inexpensive ways to send those hungry pests packing.
Similarly, mosquitoes aren’t fans of the fragrance of apple cider vinegar. Sipping 1 tablespoon of the stuff daily should keep them at a distance, according to Reader’s Digest. If the idea of tossing back apple cider vinegar is too much for you to stomach, not to worry! They share an additional trick:
“Another time-honored approach to keep gnats and mosquitoes at bay is to moisten a cloth or cotton ball with white vinegar and rub it over your exposed skin.”
Pick up a plant
Certain plants are known to repel mosquitoes and other pests. Chief among them are inexpensive herbs like basil, rosemary or lavender. Pick up a small potted plant for use as an outdoor centerpiece. Here’s what Garden Design Magazine has to say about rosemary:
“Both the New York Botanical Garden and PlantShed recommended this plant. Rosemary is an herb that many of us are very familiar with and their woody scent is exactly what keeps mosquitoes as well as cabbage moths and carrot flies away.”
Avoid peak hours
Fun fact: Mosquitoes loathe wind. So, the calm, still hours of dawn and dusk basically serve as happy hour for the famished insects. To avoid the feeding frenzy, stay indoors or in a screened area until a gentle breeze sets in.
Find a fan
Remember how we mentioned that mosquitoes hate the wind? Pick up an inexpensive personal fan or a small table fan to keep the irritating insects at a distance.
The less skin you expose, the less likely you are to get bitten. Therefore, wearing long sleeves and pants can serve as a wonderful mosquito deterrent.
Tightly woven clothing — especially items made from synthetic fibers and those designed to block the sun — tend to be the most effective.
Believe it or not, your racing heart could actually summon the blood-thirsty bugs! According to Prevention:
“Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary thing mosquitoes search for to identify food sources. And when your heart rate is elevated, your body produces more CO2. From exercise to drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods, anything that cranks up your metabolic rate will increase your CO2 production — and make you irresistible to mosquitoes.”
Get your garlic on
The scent of garlic reportedly repels vampires — and definitely deters mosquitoes. Plus, your skin emits sulfur compounds after you consume the plant, which is another deterrent for the picky pests.
So, indulge in some homemade garlic bread or other garlicky fare before heading outdoors, and the bugs will give you a wide berth.
Do you have more low-cost tips for keeping mosquitoes at bay? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.