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Summer is here and it’s time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. But you know who also enjoys the great outdoors? Pesky mosquitoes!
In addition to their itchy bites, these bites can sometimes turn into welts or worse yet, infections. When I was a kid, I scratched one to the point of a serious blood infection and remember spending a night in the hospital. Mosquitoes can carry diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Encephalitis. Yuk!
Sharing My National Park Knowledge with You
I spent 10 years living and working in three national parks, including Everglades National Park, which is home to dozens of species of mosquitoes. But, not all mosquitoes bite. Only the females do!
Although I worked and lived in national parks, I did not work for the National Park Service. (Although, I volunteered for the National Park Service one summer in Yellowstone.) I worked for a park management company.
The following tips were shared with guests.
Tip #1: Avoid Dawn and Dusk
Here’s an easy and simple tip. Avoid going out around sunrise and sunset. These are active times for mosquitoes and where they are, you want to avoid.
Tip #2: Avoid Vegetation
This will be a tricky one because the great outdoors is covered with vegetation! But, stay away from foliage, even in the height of day. Mosquitoes are resting in the brush, bushes and the trees, and they’re keeping cool in that shade. If you’re hanging in their shady space, you’ll disrupt them and be easier to find.
Tip #3: Wear Long Sleeves and Light Colors
When you’re going outside into the great outdoors, avoid wearing black. Sure, it may make you look thinner but dark colors are typically mosquito magnets. Plus, wearing lighter colors will keep you cooler. Wearing long sleeves and long pants also helps.
Tip # 4: Avoid Perfumes and Scented Beauty Products
Skip spritzing on the perfumes and colognes when out on the trail. This includes hairsprays, scented body lotions, and any other heavily scented health and beauty items. Although it’s the carbon dioxide you emit that attracts the mosquitoes, heavy scents also attract mosquitoes and other pesky critters. (Sidebar: during my time in the Everglades, I was told oxen exhale the most mosquito-optimum carbon dioxide. True? I haven’t had a chance to test this statement but it’s amusing.)
Tip #5: Apply Mosquito Repellent
I’m not a fan of wearing mosquito repellent but do because it’s much better than being bitten up. Depending on where I am, I prefer insect repellents made with essential oils like citronella, lemon eucalyptus, and/or peppermint. In other situations, it’s more appropriate to apply something with DEET. And, I’ve been known to carry a Thermacell into the great outdoors with me.
There are lots of options out there and this NBC News article lists the best DEET and DEET-free repellents.
I hope these tips help you have a mosquito-free summer!