The Benefits of Mosquitoes
Yes, mosquitoes can present health risks. They can spread yellow fever, encephalitis, malaria, West Nile, and a slew of other maladies; however, of the over 3,000 species of mosquito, relatively few transmit disease, and even fewer do so in the United States. Some people would love it if we just eradicated these vampiric pests, but we do need mosquitoes. First of all, they are an essential food source to many forms of life. Mosquito larva and pupae are absolutely essential to aquatic food chains. Mosquitoes are also prolific, underrated pollinators. In the end, barring a deadly outbreak, we can and should tolerate some mosquitoes.
Natural Mosquito Control
Use Bti products on water that can't be drained. Ornamental ponds, water treatments, unused swimming pools, sewer drains, or any water that is impractical to drain can be treated with Mosquito Dunks, Quick Kill Pellets, or any product containing the bacterium Bti (bacillus thuringiensis israelensis). Mosquito larvae feed on protein crystals produced by Bti, and then their guts explode. Bti does not harm fish, aquatic plants, humans, or anything besides mosquito and black fly larvae.
Use natural repellents. Though DEET is time tested and safe, some people desire mosquito repellents that are a bit more natural. The most popular and effective natural mosquito repellent is oil of lemon eucalyptus, which works as well as low concentrations of DEET. A mixture of 2% neem oil and coconut oil, or just coconut oil extract will also work to some degree.
Well-placed fans help. Mosquitoes need calm conditions for stealing your blood. They won't be able to bother you if wind speeds are beyond two miles per hour. When Mother Nature won't supply a breeze, some well-placed fans can keep decks and porches mosquito free. Many outdoor /open air restaurants and bars combat mosquitoes in this fashion.
Wear the right clothing. Do I want to wear my naughty, butt-crack revealing mankini at all hours, all summer long? Yes. But I don't. When the mosquitoes are out, I grow demure and put on a few layers. I prefer heat discomfort to mosquito bites and blood loss. A mosquito probiscus (needle on face) cannot penetrate the hide of a nice sweatshirt.
For the adventurous types, there are also clothes designed with biting insects in mind. These bite-proof clothes - sold at sporting goods stores – are often treated with repellents (DEET) or poisons (permethrin). On a closing note, certain species of mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors such as black, blue, and red, which can make mosquito season tough for gang members.
Avoid mosquito prime time. Dusk, dawn, and during darkness – these are the times when most mosquito species feed. Though not always possible, scheduling your outings around theirs can greatly increase your tolerance of these annoying yet needed insects. As an added bonus, you have fewer altercations with vampires.