Eight Tips to Avoid a Mosquito Bite

Mosquitoes, one of nature's nastiest pests, seem to be the subject of as much fiction as fact. Here, without bothering with old wives' tales and urban legends, are ten tried-and-true methods of keeping the pesky mosquitoes off of your hide when venturing outdoors, compiled from various sources and the experience of years:

Repellent: The most effective kinds contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). This chemical is the most consistent anti-mosquito substance, and is especially effective when combined with light-colored clothing. Other active ingredients in mosquito repellent also may include catnip oil extract, nepetalactone, citronella, or eucalyptus oil extract. These other ingredients are nearly as effective and are natural, for those who are as nervous about harmful chemicals in the environment as they are about mosquitoes.

Wear loose fitting clothes: This helps in two ways. It works to prevent mosquitoes from becoming trapped next to the skin and more importantly retains less of your body heat. Body heat is the main way they locate a person while flying in the air, along with breath.

Camouflage: Wear clothing that helps you blend in with the background. Mosquitoes have vision similar to bees, so they hone in on color contrast and movement. This is especially so in wooded areas. Remember that mosquitoes are a predator, so take a lesson from nature and be hard to see!

Permethrin repellents: Treat your clothes with it, but whatever you do, do not use permethrins on your skin, as they can hurt you as much as the mosquitoes!

Don't smell too strongly: Avoid perfume, cologne, fragrant hair sprays, lotions and soaps which have a strong scent, as these will attract mosquitoes. This isn't so much that mosquitoes are looking for a meal that smells like aftershave, as it is that a bold scent announces your presence, sometimes from miles away. By the same logic as camouflage clothing, your scent should blend in with your surroundings as well.

Change your hours: The peak feeding hours are from dusk until dawn, mosquitoes actually being nocturnal. Dawn is an especially risky time if you're up at sunrise for fishing or hunting.

Stay clear of standing water: That's where mosquitoes lay their eggs. By all means, also work to dump out any standing water around your property. Pet watering bowls, bird baths, ponds, wading pools, and any loose puddle is fair game. If you live where it snows, watch out around the spring thaw because this is prime mosquito time.

Candles: Citronella candles and torches are available in almost any home and garden center and do work as an outdoor area repellent.