I’m a Mosquito Magnet — Here Are My Top Tips for Keeping Bites at Bay

published Jul 13, 2022
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Summer is here and while many people are ready to spend their days enjoying a picnic outside, barbecuing on the patio, or splashing around in the water, I am slightly dreading the outdoor festivities for one very specific, nagging reason: mosquitoes. 

All my life, I’ve been a mosquito magnet, and it doesn’t help that I live in Hawaii, whose tropical climate makes it home to many mosquitoes. While there are perks to island living — the (almost) constant sunshine is something I really can’t complain about — there are also cons, which are completely normal to have wherever you reside. And the one thing I really dislike is the fact that mosquitoes (and many other bugs) love this warm weather too.

I’ve always wondered why mosquitoes flocked to some people over others. My family and friends, for instance, have never had to deal with the trouble of shielding themselves from mosquitoes at every turn. Surprisingly, there are several reasons why.

Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, while mosquitoes can bite anyone, they are drawn to people who wear dark-colored clothing or perfume, have a particular blood type and body temperature, or visit places they thrive in, like areas with stagnant water. (I, unfortunately, fit many of these requirements.)

So, what can you do to minimize bites? Try to avoid anything that can attract them. The Cleveland Clinic recommends that you don’t wear dark clothing or heavily scented perfumes and steer clear of areas they live in. You can also implement some preventative measures, such as wearing bug sprays and thicker clothing, using protective netting, or installing screens at home.

While all of the above are great efforts, I know that it’s just not practical to tick off all the boxes. Luckily, I have some additional tricks up my sleeve to help me survive a summer outside. While it’s not a foolproof plan, it has helped me significantly in avoiding bites, especially at home, and leaving most of my troubles behind to be able to enjoy everything that this season has to offer.

Here’s what I do:

I employ multiple deterrents.

There are only so many things I can do to stop mosquitoes from gravitating toward me. I try my best to follow recommendations, but sometimes, you can’t always do it all. (When you’re having a nice night out, for instance, you might want to bust out your fancy perfume.) Here are some preventative measures I like to do:

  • I switched to a lavender mint shampoo and conditioner.
  • I wear thicker clothing — or bring a jacket — when I go outside.
  • I light citronella candles or other bug-repellent devices. (These flyaway sticks are an AT favorite!)
  • I have an indoor insect trap that also works at trapping fruit flies. I keep it in the kitchen, where all types of bugs seem to thrive in my home.
Credit: Kristin Prough

I protect myself from the outside in. 

Protection starts from the outside — and I have numerous barriers to prevent mosquitoes from setting up shop. (Seriously, it sometimes feels like they are just waiting for me!)

For starters, it’s crucial to ensure you don’t have any standing water nearby. Empty any overflowing water from pots, bird baths, buckets, or trash cans that sit outside. Be sure to check weekly, but especially after it’s rained.

I always make sure I have plants that can naturally repel them but are also safe for my dog. While citronella grass is great at keeping mosquitoes away, the plant is actually toxic for pets. Lemon balm, basil, and rosemary are safer options for your furry friends.

I’ve installed multiple bug zappers outside, which has been a complete game-changer. The number of bugs has significantly dropped. It’s amazing. We set up two right outside the patio doors — and it has made the most difference out of everything I’ve ever done. (It’s also incredibly disgusting to clean out; you’ll be surprised how many bugs it actually gets.) 

I always carry a lineup of tools.

When I’m indoors, there’s always a bug zapper at the ready, specifically an electric one because they are so easy to use and instantly stop mosquitoes in their track. But, when I’m on the go, I like to carry these four things:

If you’re a mosquito magnet like me, I hope this helps you. If you do anything different or have advice on mosquito repellents, please share it in the comments. I’m always looking for better ways to protect myself from one of my worst enemies. 

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: I’m a Mosquito Magnet — Here’s How I Prevent Bites and Protect Myself All Summer Long