FetchImageMosquitoes may be synonymous with the summer season, but that doesn't mean you have to put up with them. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do around your home to prevent these biting pests from ruining your summer.

Some tips...

1. How to avoid mosquito bites

After dark, keep your windows and doors closed to prevent mosquitoes from flying in, and switch off the lights wherever possible. Mosquitoes need fixed light points to navigate - they are drawn towards lit areas, especially those with incandescent lighting.

Fit fly screens onto windows to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside. Additionally, you can cover water butts using well-fitted lids to prevent mosquitoes from laying their larvae in the water. Mosquitoes also travel a long way, so if there's standing water within a kilometre or two of your home, it may be the source of your problems.

Eliminate standing water. Do not leave out standing water (in watering cans, water trays from house plants and water bowls) as this gives mosquitoes a good place to breed and lay eggs. Mosquitoes might also be attracted to your lawn or shrubbery if it is well-watered.

To avoid getting bitten, encourage natural 'predators'. If you have a garden pond, think about getting some goldfish as they will eat mosquito larvae.

You could also use natural repellents. Try natural repellents such as citronella, peppermint oil, lemon, eucalyptus oil, witch hazel, garlic, lavender and vanilla extract to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Build a mosquito trap. Carbon dioxide is the most universally recognised mosquito attractant, and draws mosquitoes from up to 35 metres. A good way to lure them away from your home is to build a mosquito trap containing a sugar and yeast blend. To do this, cut the top of a 2 litre soda bottle off, turn it upside down and place it inside the bottle, so that it resembles a funnel. Mix a cup of sugar, a cup of water and a teaspoon of yeast to create a repellent. Bring one cup of water to the boil and combine with the sugary mixture. Pour this down the 'funnel' you have created and seal the two parts of the bottle with tape and there you have it – a homemade mosquito trap to help get rid of mosquitoes.

Interesting facts about mosquitoes

- Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite?

Only the female mosquito bites humans, where the males will feed off of nectar and other sweet things. The female needs to obtain nutrients from a blood meal before she can produce eggs. And, technically, female mosquitoes don't bite, they suck. Female mosquitoes use their needle-like mouth part (called a proboscis) to penetrate your skin, and search for a blood vessel. Before she begins to feed, the mosquito will release some of her saliva which acts as an anticoagulant. This lets her feed without being detected.

- Ever wonder why mosquito bites itch?

Our body's natural reaction towards an anticoagulant is to create histamines and send them to the affected area. The histamines cause the bite to itch.

A mosquito bite doesn't always itch right away. Sometimes, it can take a couple of hours to notice you've been bitten. It's a vicious cycle - the more you scratch a mosquito bite, the more histamine your body sends to the area, and the itchier the bite becomes. So if you are bitten by a mosquito, try not to scratch. Try using a cold compress cloth to relieve the itch or make use of an antihistamine cream.

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