Mosquitoes – How to Enjoy the Outdoors Without the Bites!


It’s summertime in Vermont. Unfortunately, that means that the mosquitoes are out in full force.

At my in-laws’ house, as soon as we step out of the car, the mosquitoes are all over us. Everyone in my family has several bites right now. They are so incredibly itchy! Some unfortunate people have severe reactions to mosquito bites. Not to mention, mosquitoes can carry diseases, such as West Nile Virus. While no one wants to get swarmed by mosquitoes, they also don’t want to be stuck indoors all summer.

Here are some ways to keep the mosquitoes at bay:


Insect Repellent

The most common way to avoid mosquitoes is to use an insect repellent spray. You should look for insect repellents that are registered with the EPA, which ensures their safety. Most of these repellents contain DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, Picaridin, or IR3535. Another great option is Permethrin, which can be used on clothing, shoes, and camping gear. It remains effective after laundering, even. Always follow the directions on the insect repellent packaging and avoid applying near the mouth and eyes. Another choice is Healing Earth’s natural bug repellant stick, which my whole family loves. 

Thermacell Mosquito Repeller

Lately, I have been hearing rave reviews about Thermacell mosquito repellers. It’s a small device that you set outside and it creates a 15-foot zone of protection. This is a great option for patios and decks. It can allow you to eat outdoors without worrying about mosquitoes. Unlike some other options, the Thermacell has no scent and no smoke or flames. You will have to purchase refill packs with this product. Thermacell also makes portable models, which can be used for activities such as hiking.

Yard Treatment Sprays

Some people swear by spraying their yards to prevent mosquitoes. This is not an option we can recommend for many reasons. Professional companies can apply these sprays or there are options that attach to a hose that you apply yourself. If you decide to go this route, read labels carefully. Some of these sprays contain chemicals that I would not want my children or dog to encounter. These chemicals are toxic to bees and other wildlife. There are many safer options out there, such as Nature’s Way Pest Control, which uses botanical pesticides instead of chemical pesticides, although we are uncertain how this control method impacts bees. .


Mosquito Nets

An option to avoid mosquitoes without chemicals is to install mosquito nets or curtains. This is a good option for enclosing a porch or patio. You can enjoy eating outdoors without any chemicals on your skin or in the air. A portable option is a mosquito net tent. These are great options to place over tables when camping or picnicking. 

Clean Up Your Yard

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, so you should eliminate standing water in your yard to decrease the mosquito population. If you have kids, water can find sneaky places to hide. For example, my kids left a toy dump truck outside and the bed filled with rainwater. Leaf litter and decaying logs can also provide a great environment for mosquito eggs, so get rid of those, too. Don’t forget to check your gutters! They easily fill with leaves and other debris and offer a damp environment for mosquitoes.

Plants that Repel Mosquitoes

A great way to naturally repel mosquitoes is to use plants that they avoid. Marigolds are a great option to repel many types of insects and they also add a nice pop of color to your yard. Mosquitoes also hate a variety of herbs, such as rosemary, basil, sage, catnip, and lavender. These herbs will also add some pizzazz to your cooking. Everyone has heard of citronella candles, but citronella is a grassy plant that you can add to your garden. For the biggest effect, break off a leaf of any of these plants and rub the oil on your skin. I would recommend trying a small test patch first, to ensure that you aren’t allergic or sensitive to any of these plants.


With mosquitoes, my approach is to avoid, avoid, avoid. Sometimes long pants and long sleeves work, and other times I try repellants and the other methods listed above. Nothing is failsafe, and when I get a bite, I use a variety of approaches to take away the itch, including calamine lotion, and other productsmosquito on arm


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