Mosquitoes don’t love humans – they love the carbon dioxide, sweat, and body odor that humans exude. If you want to prevent mosquito bites, there’s not much you can do about how much carbon dioxide you give off, since every breath you take releases CO2. But you can change the amount of skin you expose, and how much you smell. Here’s how.

1. Cover up. 

First and foremost, make it hard for mosquitoes to find your skin. If you’ll be gardening, mowing the lawn, or taking a walk in a park, wear long-sleeved shirts with high collars so you can protect your neck; gardening gloves; long pants; socks with shoes; and a baseball cap or hat with a brim. You can find lots of lightweight clothing that will be comfortable to wear but still keep your skin away from a probing insect. BONUS: The clothes will protect you from ticks, too. If you’re sitting on your porch or patio, drape a light cotton shawl or scarf over your legs and feet.

2. Spray your clothes, not your body. 

If you don’t like skeeters swarming around you at all, lightly spray your clothes, rather than your skin. Some summer clothes come pre-treated with insecticides. I certainly wouldn’t want to wear those, but I do occasionally treat my clothes myself with a very light, non-toxic to people spray when the bugs are really biting.

3. Wear lighter-colored clothes. 

Some research claims lighter-colored clothing is not as attractive to mosquitoes as dark colors. See for yourself if this makes a difference to you. Lighter clothing will certainly be cooler in the summer.

4. Avoid your yard at dawn and dusk. 

There always seem to be more mosquitoes out in the early morning and early evening than during the day, though some species of mosquito are active all day long. I personally avoid working in my yard early in the morning or when evening comes, as I seem to get bitten then more often than not. Again, notice what happens in your own yard. If mosquitoes are more active when the sun is rising or setting, it’s probably best to stay indoors at those times.

5. Use citronella. 

The smell of citronella can mask the smells your body gives off, but only if the mosquitoes can actually smell it. Unfortunately, some citronella candles don’t work all that well because they don’t actually contain citronella oil. Also, because they’re designed to create a flame, they might contain volatile chemicals that are very flammable and emit sooty particles that you don’t want to breathe and that pollute the air. One alternative is to use a citronella reed diffuser, which you can find online.  Another is to make your own candles out of natural soy wax and citronella essential oil. Here’s a good recipe you can try.

6. Turn on a fan.

Keep a couple of small rotating fans on your porch, deck or patio if you want to sit out for the evening. The fans will help blow the mosquitoes away and keep you cool, as well. NOTE: If you’re using fans, don’t light citronella candles, too, since the fans will neutralize the effect the candles would otherwise have.

7. Drink less beer.

The Gaston Gazette reports here on a couple of studies that show that more mosquitoes landed on people after they drank beer, than before. Evidently, the ethanol in alcoholic drinks is secreted in sweat, acting like a mosquito magnet. Of course, if you drink enough beer, you might be oblivious to mosquitoes, whether they’re biting or not.


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