Mosquitoes are becoming an even bigger nuisance for Michiganders who have experienced significant wet weather events over the last several weeks.
The flying insects lay eggs in standing water and wet environments, so all the moisture in Metro Detroit has provided them with ideal development sites.
Luckily, entomologist Mark Vanderwerp with Rose Pest Solutions says there are some effective ways to keep mosquitoes away while you’re outdoors.
First and foremost, Vanderwerp says mosquito repellant is an effective tool, but don’t be fooled by the percentage of deet included in the can. According to the entomologist, more deet does not make a repellant more effective, it just helps the repellant to last longer.
So if you’re only planning to be outside for a short period of time, a repellant with a low percentage of deet is just fine.
There is also a fairly new product called a Thermacell that is meant to keep mosquitoes away. The device sits outside and releases a repellant into the air.
Vanderwerp says the product works well, but it has its limitations.
“(It’s) great if you want to have a party or sit on your deck and not be bothered, but you’ll have a small radius of protection,” he said. “Once you get out of that, you’re on your own again.”
There is one device that most people already have on hand that is guaranteed to keep the most mosquitoes away: fans.
Vanderwerp says the air movement from a fan can help ward off mosquitoes for two reasons.
“(Mosquitoes) are not strong fliers. As soon as you get wind above about 10 mph, they can’t fly into it,” Vanderwerp said.
“But then also, what they’re keying in on is your scent profile. You’re exhaling carbon dioxide, and all blood-feeding insects can smell carbon dioxide, so if (they) follow that plume, (they) can find a host,” he added. “If you’ve got a fan blowing, it’s scattering your CO2 plume all over the place, it makes it really hard for mosquitoes to even hone in on you.”
Experts say that fogging areas with large foliage, like lots of trees and brush, can also help keep mosquitoes away.
But even with the many tips and helpful products, Vanderwerp says it’s important to understand that there is no magic solution to avoid all mosquitoes while outside. Still, by taking preventative measures, he says it’s still possible to live a “pretty mosquito-free existence.”