Despite their small size, mosquitos are one of the most dangerous organisms in the world. They are responsible for several million deaths per year and hundreds of millions of infections. Mosquitos carry a number of deadly diseases including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. It is therefore important to avoid being bitten by mosquitos as much as possible. In addition to expensive mosquito repellents and mosquito nets, there are however some easy steps that can be taken around the house to deter mosquitos from visiting.
STEP 1: COVER OR TIP OUT STANDING WATER
Mosquitos lay eggs in non-moving water where they develop and eventually hatch. To avoid mosquitos making your home a breeding ground, tip out or cover any standing water sources, i.e. buckets, barrels, cups and pots. Even 1-2cm of water is enough for the larvae to hatch. When storing water, you should ideally keep pots covered with lid, cloths or plastic sheets which will keep mosquitos out.
STEP ONE: MOSQUITO REPELLENT PLANTS
It is often difficult to avoid watery environments, for example if you live close to a rice paddy, lake or wet forest with lots of stagnant puddles and pools. Instead of step 1, try planting some mosquito repellent plants around your home and rubbing them on your skin.
Lemon balm is particularly good at keeping insects away while also having a lovely citrusy smell and healing properties.
Lavender is another beautiful smelling flower which in addition to repelling mosquitos also keeps moths and flies away. This is most effective when rubbed on the skin.
Basil in addition to being a delicious ingredient in many dishes, is toxic to mosquito larvae.
Catnip, Sage and Rosemary are other herbs which smell great to humans but terrible to insects. Try throwing them on a fire at dusk and the smoke will help keep mosquitos away.
COVER UP IN LIGHTLY COLOURED, TIGHTLY WOVEN FABRICS
Your clothing choice can also help to protect you against mosquito bites. Mosquitos look for food during the daylight hours, flying close to the ground, and finding targets that stand out against the sky. Try wearing lightly coloured fabrics which are less attractive to them. Wearing long sleeved tops and long trousers or skirts will provide a barrier to their bites. It is in particular thick, tightly woven fabrics that create a fine mesh that will make getting to your skin more difficult.
CAUTION: These tips can only prevent the likelihood of contracting malaria. Stay vigilant and remember to use everything at your disposal.