Now that it is patio season in Canada, barbecuing and relaxing in your backyard or on your deck is something you are probably excited about. You have planned everything, from mowing the lawn to setting up the most perfect patio furniture set, patio umbrellas and awnings in your backyard. However, after a few minutes mosquitoes can make anyone hate the Great Outdoors. With over 82 species of mosquitoes in Canada alone, this is something serious to think about. And it is not just the constant buzzing or bites on your arms and legs that annoy; these pests spread a lot of infectious diseases too.
So, how do you prevent patio season from turning into mosquito season?
Dealing with the Increasing Problem of Mosquitoes in Canada
Mosquitoes have always been a nuisance, although in recent times snow in winter and increased flooding in the spring have made things worse. Spring flooding is not uncommon in Canada; just take a look at the severe flooding in 2017 that hit provinces like Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Entomologist Étienne Normandin says, “If you have more puddles on land, you have more mosquitoes during the season.” With an increased number of mosquitoes, the risk of mosquito-borne diseases also increases, according to Health Canada. If you have a pregnant woman in your home, you need to take this seriously as women inhale more carbon dioxide during pregnancy and are warmer which attracts mosquitoes. It has been observed that people with type O blood get bitten twice as much as others. (You can check out the Smithsonian page on mosquitoes to learn more about why they bite some people more than others.) Nonetheless, you must take proper precautions if you want to enjoy mosquito-freedining and BBQ in your backyard.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
The best possible way to deal with this problem is to take preventive measures. There are certain natural remedies and practices that you can incorporate into your life, especially when exposing yourself to the outdoors in the evening.
1. Clean out Breeding Grounds
Mosquitoes breed in wet grassy areas. Even ¼-inch of water is enough for them to lay their eggs. Therefore, you need to clean out the outdoors, so to speak, especially after heavy rainfall, to avoid any infestation from the beginning, since any water you have laying around your patio or deck is going to be enough for them to propagate. When it comes to your patio or back porch, the most common sources of standing water are kiddie pools, clogged gutters and birdbaths. To avoid getting annoyed by mosquito bites and having your outdoor evening plans ruined, keep standing water around these areas drained at all times and your gutters clean.
Maybe you do not have any damp areas around your patio, but still water could still be lurking in a shady corner of your backyard. This too can encourage mosquitoes and hamper your relaxing time. Use non-toxic solutions for this problem, as there are many beneficial creatures in the ground as well, such as lighting bugs. A possible solution is to use a biological bacterium, called BTI, that resists mosquito growth.
2. Wear Light Colours and Fragrances
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours, as they absorb heat. By wearing light-coloured and long-sleeved clothing, you can avoid being bitten.
Sweet-smelling fragrances are not a good idea either. Mosquitoes are attracted to these types of scents, so try to avoid using them when you are planning outdoor dining on your patio.
3. Use Mosquito Repellent
As much as the above-mentioned tips will lower the risk of a mosquito bite, repellent is perhaps the most effective weapon against these nasty disease vectors. After all, you can clean your own backyard, but not that of your neighbour’s. The latter could be the breeding ground for mosquitoes. Using repellent will reduce your exposure to a harmful mosquito bite and protect you from any transmitted diseases so you relax on your patio in peace.
Whether you are prone to mosquito bites or not, keeping the atmosphere healthy and vector-free should be your goal when planning to relax on your lavish outdoor patio furniture set. With these above tips, you can create the perfect outdoor area for enjoying the beautiful summer weather, day or night, without any airborne disturbances.
Published by Eric Foley