As the sun sets on a warm, perfect, summer day, the BBQ begins… and unfortunately — here come the mosquitoes. You look at your kids' legs the next morning and they're covered in itchy, red welts. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are six proven ways to take back twilight and avoid scratching for days.
SET THE SCENE
Spray the Yard
A gallon of lawn insect repellent costs around $30 dollars at your local hardware store. Spray it on grass or landscapes to create a “wall” around your yard. You can also opt to hire a company to spray the yard for you, although this is more expensive. This typically works for 2-3 weeks, and is best done in early summer before the mosquitos make permanent summer homes.
Remove Standing Water
Old water in buckets, pots, kiddie pools, bird baths, etc, are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Go through the yard at the end of each playday and dump out any remaining water.
Set Up Fans
Plug in a couple fans and focus the air where you'll be spending time. Mosquitoes and breezes don’t mix because it makes it hard for them to fly and sense a meal. Plus, you'll keep cool. Score!
Light a Citronella Candle
Citronella oil is an all-natural insect repellent and available at many hardware, and even home decor stores.
Surround yourself with Mosquito Repelling Plants
The strong smell of lemon emitted by the geranium plant has been known to repel mosquitoes, and leaves a nice smell in their place. Find it at your local hardware store.
PROTECT YOUR BODY
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, DEET and Picaridin are the most effective ingredients in repelling bugs. Bug repellents containing DEET come in varying strengths– a higher concentration of DEET means that it will last longer (not that it’s stronger). A concentration of 10% or less is sufficient if your child will only be out for only a few hours. Picaridin is just as effective as DEET, but has no potential skin irritation symptoms and therefore may be preferable. And although DEET and Picaridin are safe for use on children over two months old, they are still strong, harsh, chemicals that can have adverse health effects if used frequently or for long periods of time. Because of this, some parents prefer natural, DEET free repellents, which generally work just as well, but need to be reapplied more often. Here are some of the best of both:
Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin – Spray, 10% Picaridin Also available in Wipes
Cutter All Family Wipes – Wipes, 7.15% DEET
Honest Company Bug Spray – Hypoallergenic, non- irritating, DEET free
Badger Anti-Bug Balm -All natural, DEET free
Bug Bam! Insect Repellent Wristband – An anklet or bracelet that is perfect for active kids. They are all natural, and are effective for up to 100 hours.
Finally, if kids are going out at peak mosquito feeding times (dusk, dawn and after dark) put them in long loose clothes that cover a lot of skin, and have them avoid wearing any type of fragrances which can attract bugs.