What prevents you most from a camping trip or visiting a country house? Why can your favorite fishing activities or a simple outdoor recreation be ruined? When considering a journey into the country, one immediately thinks of a wearisome whining of mosquitoes, their burning bites and a wish to hide indoors as soon as possible.
A common outdoor stroll without a mosquito spray taken with you can result in your arms and legs being bitten, covering them with weals and itching that can lead to mosquito bite allergy.
How to get rid of mosquitoes outdoors, how to avoid sandflies (or sand flies – both spellings are acceptable) in open areas? How can you save your resting time and prevent yourself from mosquito bite infection?
What devices to use in your house: a mosquito net or a thermacell mosquito repellent? How to use a mosquito spray or a mosquito fogger and stay safe yourself? We will help you to choose the most appropriate one in the long list of chemicals and natural means.
We will inform you about the difference between mosquitoes and sandflies. You’ll see how dangerous can be sandflies and learn how to avoid them.
In this article, you will find all the secrets revealed. You will also get acquainted with possible methods and find the best way to get rid of mosquitoes and sand flies.
1. What is the difference between mosquitoes and sandflies?
There are bugs that look like mosquitoes. Quite often, mosquitoes are confused with sandflies, or all the bloodsucking insects are just called “mosquitoes”. However, this is wrong. A mosquito and a sandfly are completely different kinds of insects.
What are sandflies?
Sandfly is the insect that looks like a common mosquito, but a closer examination reveals plenty of differences. There are around 700 existing species of sandflies, and all of them can be harmful to humans and animals.
Sandflies are much smaller than mosquitoes, being only around 3 mm long. Sandfly wings are uplifted at an angle with the body, whereas mosquito wings pressed tightly.
Sandflies are light-colored and yellowish in contrast with grey or dark brown mosquitoes.
Sandflies fly slowly and quietly; they don’t whine like mosquitoes. Before biting, sandflies leap around the body searching for a place with a thin skin to bite. When sand fly bites it injects saliva to relieve pain and thin blood. Sand fly bites can infect blood with parasites or dangerous illnesses (such as sandfly fever or dermatitis).
Where do sandflies live?
Sand flies are widespread in tropical and subtropical areas. On the Continent of North America, sandflies live in Mexico, the USA, and Canada. In Eurasia, they are widespread in France, Mongolia, Georgia.
In Serbia and Hungary, a sandfly species are spread, and it harms animals significantly. Due to bites and conveyed illnesses, herds can become extinct.
In houses, sandflies dwell under the floor, in garbage accumulations, where it is dark and warm.
When are sandflies active and dangerous?
Sandflies unlike mosquitoes are seasonal insects. They massively hatch in May and June; therefore the number of sand flies increases at a moment’s notice. They start biting in July and August. Just like mosquitoes, sandfly female needs to suck blood to nourish and breed a new generation. In this period, sandflies gather in large hordes to search for a victim.
They start hunting at twilight and become active after sunset.
What is the difference between mosquitoes and sandflies?
A mosquito can be easily distinguished from a sandfly visually by its sizes. It is from 4 to 14 mm long, which is 2-3 larger than a sandfly. Mosquitoes are proper nutrition for birds, fish, animals, and amphibians. Mosquitoes’ flying speed is much higher than a sandflies’ one, and they whine while flying. They bite immediately without leaping around a body as sand flies do.
How long do mosquitoes live?
The life cycle of the adult mosquito differs depending on its sex. Males live on average 5-7 days, while female mosquito can live for a week or even two in nature, and longer than a month in captivity. Only a female mosquito takes blood, as it needs protein and iron found to make eggs.
The lifespan of a female mosquito as well as male’s one depends on temperature, humidity and time of year.
And as for a giant mosquito found in China, its life cycle even shorter. Though its body is 10 times longer than an average mosquito, a giant mosquito lives only a few days, do not suck blood, and mainly feed on nectar.
Where do mosquitoes live?
Mosquitoes are widespread all around the globe, but for the Antarctic Continent. A northern house mosquito lives in every place it can find a prey – a human. They dwell next to lakes, in shadiness of the forests with high humidity. Unlike sandflies, mosquitoes are active throughout a year. They go into hibernation during the cold season.
In the Arctic regions, mosquito larvae manages to reproduce in incredible amounts and to suck blood from the local people and deer.
Hordes of mosquitoes that attack deer herds can suck up to 300 ml of blood from each of the animals. This example clearly shows the amount of these bloodsucking insects in Tundra.
It is due to human activity that these bloodsucking insects spread: mosquito larvae get into wet cargo areas and are transferred all around the world on steamships, trucks, trains and even planes. Therefore, they inhabit all and every territory. They prefer locations close to rivers, lakes, and stagnant water bodies for they lay mosquito larvae in water or in wet places. There are numerous viruses and bacteria in stagnant water bodies; therefore, mosquitoes are transmitters of various diseases.
The number of mosquitoes depends on the environment: the lower the temperature, the fewer mosquito larvae there can grow. But in the course of time, these bloodsuckers get used to cold conditions as well.
One can decrease the number of mosquitoes at garden plots by eliminating excessive humidity: by draining a swamp, eliminating water stagnation, getting rid of water in barrels and buckets.
2. Why do mosquito bites itch and what danger can they cause?
The single mosquito presence irritates people to a great extent. This annoying whining that foregoes a painful mosquito bite becomes simply intolerable. Besides pain, a mosquito bite can do lots of harm. The most common reaction to the bite is rubor, itching and bump, sometimes the symptoms are worse due to mosquito bite allergy.
The bitten place is itching so intensively that one can scratch it until it bleeds. After being bitten, children often scratch the itching places and then suffer from sores on their arms and legs for a long time. This is dangerous, as in hot weather the wound can be infected with germs, leading to infections and inflammation.
Mosquito bite allergy is also a great danger for people suffering from allergy. This can lead to severe itching and swelling. If after being bitten by a mosquito you have a high temperature, headache, rash, drowsiness and enlarged lymph nodes, you should visit your doctor immediately.
Besides harmful bites and mosquito bite allergy consequences, one can be infected with various diseases transferred by these bloodsucking insects.
Therefore, you shouldn’t forget about mosquito protection. Such means as: a mosquito spray, a mosquito net, a mosquito fogger, Thermacell mosquito repellent, and mosquito repellent essential oils can become your reliable helpers in the fight against mosquitoes. Under the guise of these small insects can hide enemies that are really dangerous for humans.
3. How to protect your body or how to get rid of mosquito bites if they already occured
Not to spoil your outdoor rest or not to turn your gardening activities into the hell on earth, you should stick to several simple rules and make sure you have a mosquito repellent with you.
Before leaving your home, take care to do the following:
- you should wear light-colored clothes with no openings. Dark clothes is a mosquito attractant;
- for your children, choose the clothes leaving as few uncovered body areas as possible; pay special attention to the neck;
- don’t use sweet-scented perfume as it can be a mosquito attractant;
- don’t apply cosmetic products with strong scent for the same reason;
- avoid swamps and lakes when choosing your walking route;
- go outdoors when it’s windy.
And take care to provide for adequate and efficient protective means appropriate for the situation. Choosing a useful mosquito repellent is the essential step of such protection. For different kind of needs and environments you can use a mosquito trap or a mosquito spray, a mosquito repellent or a mosquito net. Whether you are outdoors or in the house, one of them can help you to get rid of mosquitoes.
All the mosquito protection and combat means can be divided into several types depending on their action principle:
- Electromechanical means of bloodsuckers destruction – the anti-mosquito lamp. The ultraviolet light of the lamp attracts insects into a mosquito trap, and they die immediately after getting onto the high-voltage net in the middle of the lamp. This mosquito trap device features special containers to collect dead mosquitoes.
- Chemical means – anti-mosquito plug-ins with hard, liquid and gas chemical elements. When being heated, these substances evaporate and affect bloodsuckers.
Spiral is a mosquito fogger made of the hardened paste containing wood powder. Poisonous smoke can deter insects even from a land plot if you put the spirals along a mosquito fogger perimeter. A spiral is an outdoor mosquito repellent, for its smoke is poisonous for humans as well. Do not use a mosquito fogger in closed premises to stay safe in the process of getting rid of mosquitoes.
For those who are fond of outdoor recreation, as well as for fishers and hunters, special portable Thermacell mosquito repellent is made. A special gas canister or a chemical plate is inserted in it, which enables the device to operate steadily up to 12 hours. Thermacell mosquito repellent becomes active in 5-10 minutes after you turn it on. Spare plates and canister are included into Thermacell mosquito repellent kit.
- Ultrasonic mosquito repellent. They are highly efficient for combating black flies and mosquitoes outdoors. This is a kind of female mosquito repellent based on the fact that only female mosquitoes bite. A female mosquito needs nutrition to breed a new generation. This mosquito repellent emits the sound similar to one that a male mosquito produces to attract a female. An impregnated female mosquito can’t stand this sound and flies away.
- Mosquito repellents – are the substances that frighten mosquitoes away with their smell. You can apply a mosquito repellent on the body or clothes. The most common is a mosquito spray.
A mosquito spray is applied on the body or clothes and is effective for 3 hours. Any kind of mosquito spray, whether for adults or children, must be renewed at specified intervals of time.
An anti-mosquito stick is effective for 4 hours, is easy to apply, keeps your hands clean, and it is cheap.
An anti-mosquito plaster can be used for children older than 2 months. The product is saturated with mosquito repellent essential oils and provides efficient protection during 4-5 hours. Another advantage of the plaster is that it can be stuck to any kind of kid’s clothes, headwear, baby buggy or even diaper.
If you use any mosquito repellent, you should keep in mind that the more efficient it is, the more dangerous it is for humans and domestic animals. Make sure to observe safety precautions and follow the instruction when using it. Especially closely monitor such repellents as mosquito spray, and a mosquito fogger. The mosquito trap is rather safe one.
If you don’t feel like dealing with chemical substances, you can use natural means. They produce only a short-time effect; however, they are safe.
- To deter these insects, you can use the mosquito repellent essential oils: clove, eucalyptus, anise, cedar, tea tree, lavender, mint, and cranesbill. They can be added to an essential oil burner or applied to clothes (only if you won’t mind smearing your clothes with oily stains). Mosquitoes can’t stand the scent of dry chamomile as well.
- You can make up a blend of 9% vinegar and shampoo (1:1), stir it and apply to the open parts of your body. Mosquitoes won’t approach such a mixture; however, the vinegar smell will prevent you from making a public appearance.
- Vanilla can be as well considered as the best natural mosquito repellent. It’s a simple and “tasty” way to frighten mosquitoes and black flies away with a mixture consisting of vanilla and any cream (you can use a kid’s cream). You can easily visit any public place with this aroma.
- Outdoors, you can pick up juniper needles, pine and fir cones, add camphor and burn it. Black flies and mosquitoes won’t approach this place closer than 5 meters.
- At a garden plot, you can burn grass and add a bit of sage to the fire. The scent will frighten the insects away for some time.
- Mosquitoes can’t stand the scent of many plants, such as peppermint, tansy, wormwood and tomatoes. You can pick up these plants and place them next to your recreation spot.
4. Why are there mosquitoes in the house?
If you don’t go outdoors too often and take all the necessary precautions before the trip, you won’t face any difficulties withstanding the presence of mosquitoes. But what should you do when these bloodsuckers invade your home or apartment? The most unpleasant thing about it is that they become active in the evening and at night, start producing annoying whining and bite open parts of the body. When you turn the lights on, mosquitoes find some incredible way to disappear, be quiet and hide in the unnoticeable places. They can cause lots of trouble to the hosts and keep them awake all night long. And young children are the ones who suffer from their bites the most. As they cannot scare away or wipe these insects off the face. Quite often, babies get bitten precisely in the face.
Mosquitoes in the house: how do they here?
The bulk of mosquitoes prefer living in apartment blocks basements, at stairwells, balconies, and in bathrooms. Extremely humid basements are a perfect place for mosquitoes to thrive in. They get into an apartment through doors, windows, cracks and ventilation holes. Mosquitoes are so bothersome due to the fact that a female mosquito has to bite and get the nourishment she needs to breed her offsprings. Therefore, they do their best to get to humans.
Where do mosquitoes hide?
At daytime, mosquitoes are almost invisible. But when darkness falls, they go hunting. Where can these insects hide at daytime? Mosquitoes hole up in cupboards, on shelves and carpets, in curtains, on the ceiling or the walls. They leave their shelter only at night. Even if you hear a mosquito whining and turn the light on, the insect will immediately find a place to hide and will sit out there quietly. This is why mosquitoes make troubles and keep people awake all night long.
5. How to get rid of mosquitoes in your house?
Sometimes, getting rid of mosquitoes is not an easy task. Even the most primitive tool – a fly-flap – will be useful only the moment the insect has been detected and is sitting on the wall. The major disadvantage of this method is a stain on wallpapers or on the ceiling. Many people prefer using a vacuum cleaner instead of a fly-flap, as it makes it possible to suck in a mosquito without any traces.
To prevent mosquitoes from getting indoors from the street, it is necessary to set mosquito nets on the windows, vent panes and ventilation holes.
For more effective methods, special tools and devices are required:
- Mosquito repellent with electric or ultrasonic operating principle. These devices can be bought from household stores and need electric main or batteries to function. By producing ultrasonic sounds, which are unpleasant for mosquitoes, the device makes these insects leave your house. These sounds don’t affect people or animals.
- Anti-mosquito plug-ins containing liquid or plates are an efficient means to combat mosquitoes. The disadvantage of this method is that evolved vapors can be dangerous for animals and humans; therefore, you should make sure to keep vent panes open in the room.
- An essential oil burner with such oils as tea tree, cedar, clove and lavender oils frightens the insects away. However, the scent of mosquito repellent essential oils can be unbearable for humans as well.
- Fly tapes efficiently cope with the insect problem. A special scent attracts not only mosquitoes but black flies and flies as well. After touching the tape with their tarsuses, bloodsuckers stick to it and remain there forever. This method’s disadvantage is an anaesthetic appearance of the fly tapes hanging all around the room.
- Disinsectization (insect deinfestation) – this mosquito repellent procedure is effective in case of congestion of bloodsuckers. Special organizations carry out these procedures to get rid of mosquitoes in a professional, high-quality and safe manner. It’s advisable to carry out disinsectization in all premises, basements, and stairwells at the same time. Thanks to this, you will be able to get rid of insects and pests for a long time. But you should remember that it’s impossible to get rid of mosquitoes forever. They can get in through the window or vent pane and continue multiplying.
- Home remedies for mosquitoes are less efficient than chemical products, but they are safe for humans and pets. Mosquitoes are frightened by scents of such plants as basil, peppermint, lemon balm, wormwood, and tansy that can be placed in the rooms in the form of bunches. Cranesbill in a pot will also frighten mosquitoes away, especially if you shake it in the evening for better smell evolution.
6. How to get rid of mosquito bites?
You can take all possible steps to liquidate or deter bloodsuckers. But no one can feel 100% safe from being bitten or dealing with an allergic reaction to mosquito bites. And if this has happened, you should try to address the consequences. There are several efficient methods of how to get rid of mosquito bites and to eliminate the after-bite rubor and itching.
If there are no consequences that require a doctor’s attention, you can do the following:
- wash the swollen mosquito bite with soapy water to eliminate irritation;
- apply a lotion on a bitten place made of 1 tsp. soda solution and 1 glass of warm water for 10-15 minutes;
- rub the bitten place with manganese solution, ammonia spirit, clove or tea tree oil;
- mash and apply the blend of mint, chokecherry, plantain and parsley leaves;
- hold a garlic clove over the bitten place and rub it with lemon or onion juice;
- spread on the ointment with arnica and calendula extract on a swollen mosquito bite;
- take antihistamines.
When going for a walk, to the woods, fishing or visiting your country house, you should use appropriate clothes and anti-mosquito protective means. It’s better to prevent mosquito bites and sand fly bites than cure them.