Protecting Yourself from Mosquitos > Rocky Mountain RV & Marine - Albuquerque RV and Boat Sales & Service

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Rocky Mountain RV & Marine Blog

Protecting Yourself from Mosquitos

Protecting Yourself from Mosquitos
There's nothing that can ruin a fun outdoor time faster than being besieged by mosquitos!  People go to great lengths to avoid being bitten and thousands of contraptions and potions have been invented in an effort to thwart the pests.  

Police are beginning to warning people to start locking up their expensive mosquito zappers. It seem as though some brands of zappers have become a hot target for thieves.  With some units selling for $500 or more, it's understandable why they are popular for stealing!

The devices work by enticing mosquitoes, sending out a message that there's a meal of blood in the area. They do that by mimicking human breath. The propane gas emits a warm, moist carbon dioxide plume, which attracts the blood-seeking insects.

As the unsuspecting bug approaches the source, it's sucked into a net where – instead of feasting on a nice plump, juicy human – it dehydrates and dies.

The devices may also combine certain chemicals with the carbon dioxide, to attract a broader range of mosquitoes.

Mosquito Magnet   

One brand of mosquito zapper – the Mosquito Magnet – claims it will rid your yard of mosquitoes within 6-8 weeks, as it wipes out the population of female mosquitoes in the area. But you have to keep the device on until the temperature consistently drops to 50 degrees or lower.  And, with a hefty price tag of over $600,  you will definitely want to bring this one inside when not using it!

ThermaCell Lantern 

Another device on the market is the ThermaCell Mosquito Repellant lanterns and devices.  ThermaCell claims that within minutes after turning on the Lantern or Appliance, the repellent creates a 15 by 15-foot (225 square-foot) mosquito-free zone, the size of an average deck, patio, or campsite.  The devices use a butane cartridge that is directed to a metal grill that a small mat, saturated with repellent, sits on top of. Heat vaporizes the repellent, allowing it to rise into the air.  The repellent is allethrin, a copy of a repellent that naturally occurs in chrysanthemum flowers. It repels up to 98 percent of mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums, and will not harm humans or pets, according to ThermaCell. 
There are other – low tech – methods to keep the mosquitoes from biting that some people swear by.  

Among them:

•  Vitamin B-1.

•  Fabric softener sheets.

•  Clear real – not artificial – vanilla.

•  Electronic (ultrasonic) devices.

•  Wristbands, neckbands and ankle bands impregnated with repellents.

•  Electrocuting devices ("bug zappers").

•  Odor-baited mosquito traps.

•  Citrosa plant (geranium houseplant).

•  Marigolds.

•  Skin moisturizers that do not contain an approved repellent active ingredient.

Trouble is they don't work. There are basically two ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other biting bugs: physical barriers and chemical barriers.

You can put a layer between you and the bug. Wear long-sleeved shirts (sleeves down, buttoned or zipped, tucked into pants) and long pants (tucked into socks or footwear). You can also wear light-colored clothing, which wards off some bugs.

You can use a mosquito net. But keep in mind that mosquitoes can still bite you if your skin is against the mesh.

Two types of chemical barriers reduce the risk of bug bites: repellents and insecticides. Repellents won't kill that lone mosquito buzzing around your tent. Instead, they will trick that bug into believing you're no tasty meal. Insecticides don't beat around the bush. They kill bugs on contact, or shortly afterwards.

'Natural-based' repellents

Most repellents containing "naturally derived," or synthetic analogues of "naturally-derived," materials aren't your best protection against a swarm of hungry mosquitoes.

Some do repel mosquitoes, but not for very long. Products made from oil of citronella will generally buy you between 30 minutes and an hour of mosquito-free time. Don't rub the stuff on your skin. There are concerns that citronella repellents on skin may be a risk to your health.

Soybean oil two per cent "Blocker" products may keep you mosquito-free from one to four hours. Soybean oil has low toxicity, has no age-associated use restrictions, and is non-irritating. Consequently, it may also be considered an alternative to DEET, albeit one with a substantially shorter protection time and without a long history of use.

Despite some controversy, the best protection against biting mosquitoes continues to be repellents that contain DEET as their active ingredient. The higher the concentration, the better the protection.

A mosquito repellent with a 20 - 35 per cent concentration of DEET will keep the bugs away for six to 12 hours. DEET concentrations of less than 10 per cent will protect you for one to three hours.

For years, the labels on products containing DEET said clearly: "Do not use on infants or toddlers." Those guidelines have been amended to allow spray with 10 per cent or less DEET to be used on children as young as six months – but not for daily use.

Here are some guidelines on using products containing DEET:

•  Don't use a stronger product than you need. If you're going out for an hour stroll in the evening, you don't need a product that keeps mosquitoes away for 13 hours.

•  Follow the application instructions. Using more than the specified amount won't give you extra protection but may increase your risk.

•  Don't apply DEET near eyes or mouth, or on broken skin. If using a spray, don't spray your face directly or breathe in the spray mist. Spray it on your hands and then rub it on your face.

•  Don't apply DEET under clothing. Your skin may absorb it more quickly. Spray it over your clothes, and be sure to wash them before wearing again. DEET generally doesn't harm cotton, nylon or wool, but it can damage some synthetics.

•  When you come back inside, wash the repellent off your skin.

Prevention remains the best defense against mosquito bites. Take a walk around your yard and check all flowerpots, garbage cans and eaves/troughs for standing water. That's where mosquitoes love to frolic and make zillions more mosquitoes. And it doesn't take much. The insects can breed in a tiny bit of standing water.

Want to enjoy the great outdoors and nature in total comfort?  Rocky Mountain RV and Marine has a recreational vehicle that will fit your budget and lifestyle.  Whether it's a big rig motor home or a pop-up tent trailer, come pick out one and start enjoying life!  Hopefully, without too many mosquitos bothering you!

How do you repel and keep mosquitos from biting?  Have a different method that's not mentioned here? Share it our Facebook page!

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