What do I know about mosquitoes. They are a constant companion if you are in many parts of the world especially sub-Saharan Africa. We Nigerians sure have experienced a lot with mosquitoes.
There is a combination of lifestyle and remedies for mosquitoes and a combination of these methods can help you eliminate significantly or almost entirely if you follow them strictly. I say almost because as much as you research and put much effort into removing these pesky insects from your home and your yard, there are factors that are beyond your control such as if you have a neighbor that simply allows their yard to be the neighbourhood’s mosquito breeding ground. Anything short of evicting him from his own home will not solve the problem. But there is a lot that you can do on your own property that will make your home a very uncomfortable place for them. That way, they simply have to find new breeding grounds elsewhere.
Let us briefly discuss about mosquitoes:
- They are found almost worldwide with the exception of places with extreme weather conditions such as Iceland.
- They are most found in warm and tropical climates.
- They are most active at dawn and at dusk during the day
- They are attracted to humans because of the carbon dioxide we breathe out
- Female mosquitoes can lay several hundred eggs at one time which is why control is most recommended option.
- They are attracted to warm bodies which again points to us humans and other animals.
To begin with, this post is divided into my recommendation for indoors and outdoors mosquito care and while it might not be possible for you to implement all that I am saying, just try your best and see what ends up working for you.
Indoor mosquito strategies are perhaps the most important because I would like to assume that most of us on this blog are not sleeping outside on the yard. We spend most of time indoors especially from late evening to night time which is when mosquitoes are most active.
Many people would like to opt-out of mass produced insecticides because though yes they are effective for mosquito control (sometimes in my experience), they are also harmful to us as human beings. But if you do want just a quick relief from mosquitoes in your room when they refuse to allow you any peace, then kindly leave the room for about 20-30 minutes after you have sprayed your insecticide while it takes care of the mosquitoes. This will minimize they harmful effects of the chemicals on our bodies.
- Insecticide spray
This is perhaps the most common type of insecticide in Nigeria and usually our go to solution. The most common ones are Bygone, Mobile, Mortein, Rambo etc. (Mini rant time) Recently, there has been an influx of “sweet smelling” insecticides such as lemon, rose scents etc. in the market which I find annoying because they are not as effective as the older original ones and I am not interested in using an insecticide as an air freshener so they are kind of in the middle. Because an insecticide does not mix well with ‘sweet scents’, they end up smelling strange and unpleasant. They are also not being effective as mosquito repellents. So basically, they are not fully fulfilling their purpose. So annoying! (ok end rant! lets continue..)
- Insect repellent Ring/coils
This an equally harmful but cheaper option to the spray. The difference between the spray and the ring insecticide in my experience is that the ring is more effective than the mosquito spray. Since about 2 years ago, I am using this coil a lot more than I thought I would when I first tried them out. So you are welcome to try both and let me know of your experience comparing both of them
*Don’t forget to leave the room and close the door after spraying or lighting these insecticides to protect yourself and your family.
- Closing the door in the evening
Closing the door when mosquitoes are most active to prevent them from entering into your home is very important. Some of us in Nigeria have two doors on the door frames leading to the yard which is the net door and the main metal/wooden door. The net door is to allow us to open the door and enjoy the air while prevent mosquitoes and other insects from getting inside the house. Being vigilant and closing the door once evening time arrives will be very helpful in reduce the number of mosquitoes in the indoors.
- Before you sleep, use an insecticide.
Spraying the rooms with mosquito repellents whether they be factory made or not is very important especially during the mosquito peak in the summer. This will seriously reduce the number of mosquitoes that will bite you in your sleep which can result in itch and painful bites or at worst, malaria and other diseases.
This option is perhaps most familiar to those in Nigeria. Sleeping nets or bedroom nets are especially commonly used for new born babies in Nigeria and those that are sensitive or vulnerable to malaria such as those with sickle-cell anemia. Sleeping with a net overhead ensures a peaceful beauty and keeps you healthy. Just remember to ensure that you have not allowed any mosquito into that net or it can be an unpleasant experience for you.
I know this is not a possible option for many of us because of our preferences in lifestyle, health and other reasons still, this is a good option to remember. Other netting options that we should consider is fixing our doors and windows with nets.
The battle against mosquitoes has led to the development of many other (but more expensive) options to repel them such as:
- Mosquito lamps that attract and kill them.
- Mosquito bats/swatters which can be a good form of exercise though not very effective
- Mosquito traps
- Bug vacuum insects trap with back light such bugs and insects into itself.
- Electromagnetic pest repellent
- Mosquito net suit which is like pajamas made of net etc.
Since these mosquitoes are with us most of the time, the best method of eliminating mosquitoes is by allowing them no room to breed on your property and making it as uncomfortable as possible for them to exist in your home. One of the best places that support mosquitoes in your home is the yard or backyard.
We need to realise most of the time, mosquitoes breed and flourish outside in the backyards before moving into our homes to make our lives miserable. To prevent such, we need to:
Tidy the yard
Different parts of the backyard is usually designated to different purposes such as storage, outdoor living, gardening and garage spaces. We need to make each of these places as neat as possible and getting rid of all junk that is not needed.
Draining stagnant water
By stagnant water we mean water that is nor moving but stays in one place such was water in a bowl, pools of water such as after the rain, etc. We might have small pools of water that we forget about around the backyards that become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. For some of us that rear poultry such as birds, chickens we usually have water for them in containers that can become mosquito homes with time if we are not constantly changing the water to avoid any of infestation of insects and flies not just mosquitoes.
Eliminating or Drying moist soils
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in moist soils and stagnant water so beware the gardeners amongst us. Many of us have paved backyards and such so this is not really a major issues for us. Try to water your plants/soils before or after the peak time of mosquitoes which is at dusk and at dawn. Do not over do the watering of the plants so the soil does not become moist for too long.
Avoiding big trees, unkempt bushes and shrubs
Trim over grown shrubs and cut down weeds. Make the plants as neat as possible.
Many of us enjoy having plants whether for decoration, as a hobby, for food in the back yard or around in house as potted plants. We need remember to trim and take care of our plants so that we can live comfortably in our homes.
There are many articles and requests by people on the internet about plants that repel mosquitoes if you were to plant them in your garden. Well ,here is the truth guys, there are no such plants where by simply planting them, mosquitoes will completely avoid you like the plague (sorry to be the bearer of bad news).
Science has showed that all the plants that you see being praised for their insect repelling powers such as lemongrass, neem, basil need to be burned, squeezed or processed in a way before they can be effective. It doesn’t happen just by sitting in your garden or plant pot.
What might work is to use the oils of these plants as an incense to ward away mosquitoes that will work. Some of them include:
- peppermint etc
Update: I have recently written an article on the natural mosquito repellents that are very effective and safe. you are welcome to check it out here.
So there you have it. All the ways which you can protect yourself and your family from these dreadful insects and live a happy and healthy life. It is best to choose a combination of these measures to employ in your life as just one method will not be enough to eradicate mosquitoes. Just a reminder for those with a big backyard/garden, sometimes fumigation is an option to consider but take care and select a goods fumigation company to ensure the chemicals they use will not destroy your plants.
I hope you enjoyed your time here on this blog. Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments and subscribe to us if you would like to be notified the next time we publish more articles on taking care of your health with natural means.
Good luck with the mosquitoes and bye for now!