The weather is in full cooperation, the grill is lit, and the food is prepped. But step outside, and the insect onslaught begins. The buzzing, the biting—what could’ve been done to prevent this bug bombardment? Citronella? Spray? A flamethrower? (No, it’s hot enough already.) Take the battle to the bugs this summer and reclaim your cookout from mosquitoes and free your home of fleas.
1. Use a Fan
While citronella candles or DEET sprays may work in certain instances, a backyard cookout can be mosquito-free without smelling like chemicals. In a New York Times article, William J. Broad explains that the American Mosquito Control Association recommends using a 12-inch oscillating fan for mosquito deterrence. The bugs are not only incapable of flying in the sustained winds from the fan, but they are also unable to sense the carbon dioxide flowing from potential victims.
Being active is great, but you may have to contend with bug bites as well as exhaustion during outdoor workouts. Your movement and body heat attracts mosquitos, which will zero in on the lactic acid excreted by your muscles and sweat glands. Panting from exertion sends out a flare for the insects, who will follow the plume of carbon dioxide all the way to dinner.
3. Keep it Clean
Not every bug menace has wings. Crawling and hopping fleas terrorize man and beast alike, so it's important to diligently check pets and apply monthly topical flea-fighting medication for prevention.
However, if bugs have already found Fido, it’s not too late. Flea baths, much to the dismay of pets, handle matters quickly. Cleaning the furniture, laundry, sheets, or anything that holds a warm body is essential. When vacuuming furniture and carpeting, make sure to dispose of the bag properly since flea eggs have a gestation period of 6 to 10 days. When washing sheets, make sure to tumble dry on high heat to cook off any remaining fleas and their families. For pet bedding, work in a little diatomaceous earth or pyrethrum with a broom or gloved hands.
4. Use Garlic
According to Mother Earth News, adding garlic or brewer’s yeast to a dog or cat’s diet creates an odor that fleas find offensive. The ingredient in brewer’s yeast that deters the fleas is the chemical thiamine, and the suggested serving is one milligram daily per five pounds of your pet’s body weight.
For serving your pet garlic, one to three fresh cloves should be pulverized and mixed with daily dispersal of food, but beware: Killer dog burps ahead.
5. Have the Right Genes
OK, it might be too late for this one. But did you ever notice how you can't go five minutes outside without being covered in bites, yet your best friend can spend an entire camping weekend totally unperturbed by mosquitos? According to a WebMD feature, experts have discovered that genetics account for 85 percent of our susceptibility to mosquito attacks. Additionally these pests search for cholesterol levels, acid that builds up on the skin, and even the carbon dioxide exhaled.
Unfortunately, some of us are just mosquito magnets.