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There’s no denying the many wonders of summer: There are also bugs to contend with, and one of them flies above all the rest when it comes to summertime pests: the mosquito.
Thanks to Zika and West Nile virus, mosquitoes are more than just an annoyance; they can actually be deadly. In fact, in terms of their death toll, mosquitoes are the most dangerous creature on Earth, responsible for 725,000 human fatalities every year.
Fortunately, it’s easy to keep mosquitoes away once you’re armed with a little knowledge. Start by implementing these 20 genius tricks to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes and you’ll be enjoying a bug-free summer before you know it.
1. Wear Light Colors
Mosquitoes are on the hunt look for things that stand in contrast to the horizon, so dark colors are a visual giveaway to your location. Dark clothing also traps heat, which also attracts mosquitoes, so wear your summer whites while you can.
2. Burn Some Sage
Burning sage is often used to “cleanse” a room or get rid of bad vibes, but it’s also a useful mosquito repellent.
Research published in Malaria Journal found that it’s about 40% effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay, which is better than nothing. But if you really want to keep the little pests away, burning thyme was found to be 85 to 90 percent effective at repelling mosquitoes.
So, the next time you light up the grill or get the fire pit going, chuck a handful of herbs on the fire to create a natural mosquito repellent with a pleasant smell.
3. Time Your Day
Mosquitoes are most active right around dawn and dusk, possibly because the wind tends to die down. So, if at all possible, avoid spending time outdoors during these mosquito-heavy times of day to reduce your exposure to the little creatures.
4. Tidy Your Yard
You might not realize it, but there’s a chance your yard is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. All it takes is a little standing water for them to lay their eggs, so make sure that you store buckets upside down, keep trash cans covered, and don’t leave kiddie pools hanging around.
Another frequently overlooked place for water to pool is in the saucers underneath potted plants, so check those for standing water to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for an infestation.
5. Embrace the Baggy
You might not think it’s particularly attractive to walk around in light-colored baggy clothes all summer, but mosquitoes can actually bite through tight, skin-clinging clothing.
The only trick is to make sure that your pants are tucked into your boots and your sleeves are buttoned before you head into heavily infested areas. Otherwise, bugs will still find a way to bite you.
6. Use Fans
Mosquitoes might be disease-laden, tenacious pests, but what they aren’t is particularly good at flying. An astonishingly easy way to keep mosquitoes away is to turn a fan on. Because mosquitoes tend to be pretty low flyers, it should be a floor or table fan for maximum effectiveness. Turn it on, and mosquitoes would rather give up and fly someplace else than try to battle the wind your fan is making.
7. Upgrade Your Porch Lights
Instead of a bug zapper to attract bugs, switch to an LED with a warm temperature to deter bugs. Research published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science found that warm temperature LEDs were just as effective as yellow “bug lights” at keeping mosquitoes away, with the added advantage of repelling more stink bugs and earwigs.