How to Keep Mosquitoes and Ticks Away
Simple strategies to keep these biters at bay, plus what to do about stinging insects
Every year, mosquitoes and ticks infect hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. with diseases—including Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and more—that can have serious consequences. The best strategy to avoid those illnesses is to use multiple layers of protection rather than just one.
Using insect repellent is obviously key, but the most effective bug avoidance requires you to take additional precautions.
“The most important thing is to avoid getting bitten in the first place,” says Rebecca Eisen, PhD, a research biologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “Fortunately, there are really simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family.”
Your Deck and Yard
Mosquitoes: According to the CDC, an important strategy for keeping mosquitoes out of your yard is to eliminate their preferred breeding ground: standing water. Keep your gutters clean and birdbaths, old tires, wheelbarrows, and swimming pool covers free of standing water. Clear away ivy and decaying leaves, too.
As far as your deck or patio is concerned, some repellent products work much better than others. Several years ago our testers tried out two area repellents—citronella candles and a battery-powered diffuser that blows out geraniol—and found they were ineffective at keeping mosquitoes away. An oscillating pedestal fan did much better. When set on high, it cut mosquito landings by 45 to 65 percent for the people sitting close to it.
September 24, 2021