How to Keep Mosquitoes Away

Barbara Pleasant shares how to keep mosquitoes away, including helpful methods for controlling mosquitoes, using natural remedies in the garden to repel them and what you need to know about West Nile virus.

| August/September 2003

Learn how to keep mosquitoes away with these handy suggestions to repel mosquitoes before they attack.

Humans have been taking aim at mosquitoes since 1897, when Sir Ronald Ross identified a tropical species as the vector for deadly malaria. Now, the mosquito's role in spreading West Nile virus — not to mention its itchy bites — has humans in North America up in arms. Human infections have been documented in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and the virus still is on the move.

It's time to get to know your local mosquitoes and lay some defensive plans about how to keep mosquitoes away. Since the appearance of West Nile in 1999 in North America, an explosion of new mosquito-control devices and plant-based mosquito repellents has been underway. It's also quite possible that you can outsmart mosquitoes on your own with some of the homemade, Earth-friendly solutions outlined here.

West Nile is one of about 30 arboviruses of public health concern that are transmitted by female mosquitoes, which are the only ones that bite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says West Nile previously was found in Africa, Eastern Europe, West Asia and the Middle East, but now is permanently established in North America. The disease is carried by 110 species of birds and transmitted by 30 species of mosquitoes.

In humans, although infections to date are considered rare, West Nile can cause a fever with mild flu-like symptoms, including body aches, low energy and headache. In extreme cases (about one in 150 people infected), West Nile meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord) or West Nile encephalitis (brain inflammation), which comes with a severe headache, fever, stiff neck and other serious complications, can bring death. No specific treatment is known.

The CDC advises if you live in an area where West Nile is widespread, seek medical attention immediately for any severe or unusual headache.

3/24/2016 12:02:48 PM

Mosquitoes have always been disease carriers. This article reinforces that fact considering it was published in 2003 and the focus was on the West Nile virus. Nowadays the CDC is focusing on the Zika Virus. Either way, protection is important! I've started using Be Free Mosquito. It's an essential oils based formula that targets the insect's receptors and binds them, preventing them from locating you. It's DEET-free and all natural. I got it on Amazon:

2/9/2016 6:41:29 PM

I live near the swamps (Louisiana). Nothing stops mosquitos here. The only thing that helps is wearing a rain coat. They cant bite through plastic!

8/17/2015 8:36:53 AM

I always get bitten by mosquitoes, so I use 2 types of protection. 1 I use plugins for around the house. They only come out early evening so we put them on 7pm - until the kids wake up. We never get bit 2) If we are outside, or not at home, we use natural mosquito repellent bands Both solutions work for us! I hope they do for you!

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