mosquito chasing a man
Photo: Mark Bowler/Getty Images; Illustration: Serge Bloch

What You'll Learn

  1. Introduction
  2. How to Beat 'Em
How to Beat 'Em

An ounce of prevention
Patch screens and window cracks, dump standing water, and avoid the outdoors at peak biting time, usually dusk to dawn. Wear loose, light-colored clothes—they can bite through skintight fabric.

Reliable repellents
DEET, which seems to disable mosquitoes' homing apparatus, is considered the gold standard. A 25 to 30 percent solution, applied all over, except around the eyes, mouth, and nostrils, lasts up to 5 hours. (It goes on top of suncreen.) Odiferous lemon-eucalyptus sprays, applied about every 2 hours, work well, and clothes impregnated with the insecticide permethrin will ward off skeeters too. Lanterns that waft pyrethroids (synthetic versions of plant-derived insecticides) may work as long as the air is still. Forget taking vitamin B or setting up a bug zapper or burning citronella candles (hungry mosquitoes will simply fly around the plume). But do set up a fan—they hate a strong breeze.

Fatal attraction?
Mosquitoes live on plant nectar, inspiring sugary baits. One new pro-only service aims to reel them in with sugar-encapsulated garlic oil, which the company says is toxic to the little biters.
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