Insect Repellent FAQS
What attracts mosquitoes?
It is only female, not male mosquitoes that bite humans. “They’re attracted to a number of different things about us,” Yee said.
They include the carbon dioxide we exhale; our body heat; and the smell of our sweat, soap and perfume. To deter mosquitoes, “You either try to mask those things about yourself or you try to eliminate them,” Yee said. “Obviously, it’s easier to mask or eliminate the odor than, say, carbon dioxide,” he said
What are the best ways to deter mosquitoes?
Yee’s top tips for avoiding mosquitoes include reducing standing water on your property, long sleeves and pants or treated clothing, and repellents, and staying within specific hours.
“The greatest time when we’re most vulnerable to many of these mosquitoes is some sort of dawn-twilight cycle,” he said, adding that there are day biters in the far south of the US.
Prevention is also key. “You can reduce the mosquito population by eliminating all the places where those mosquitoes can produce their offspring,” Yee said. He recommends cleaning birdbaths, flower pots, and other items that collect water on a regular basis. Empty gutters of debris to avoid creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
What attracts bees?
“Often, when bees visit, they’re just checking things out,” Moreau said. “And if they don’t find anything attractive, they move on.”
Slapping at them and ending with a sting can attract more bees. “When that sting attaches to your skin, it also releases an alarm pheromone that tells other bees in the area that there are problems,” Moreau said.
What attracts ants?
When picnicking or camping, remember that you are invading the territory of insects.
“It’s a great idea to choose a location where there are no anthills or ant nests nearby,” Moreau says. She also suggests leaving the area as you found it, including any logs or stumps you moved. “If you turn it over, turn it back,” she said.
What are the best ways to deter ants and bees?
“The best thing you can do is make sure food is covered and left out only for the minimum amount of time it takes,” says McArt.
Moreau also suggests cleaning up spills immediately and removing any leftover sweet foods, such as watermelon juice, far from your gathering place. “If you do have to throw something like that, try to walk as far away as you can before throwing anything on the floor,” Moreau said.
Why are ants and bees good for your garden?
The reason why insecticides, repellents and other products that kill insects indiscriminately are not preferred is that they also eliminate beneficial insects.
“Ants are really great at aerating soil,” Moreau said. “In fact, they probably change soil more than earthworms,” which helps the nutrients mix through the soil and draw moisture into it.
“They’re also scavengers and detritivores, so they break down all the organic matter,” she said.
“And then, of course, bees are great pollinators, and this is super important for a lot of flowering plants,” Moreau said.