How to Avoid Mosquitoes

How to Avoid Mosquitoes
Pesky biting mosquitoes can dampen a pleasant hiking experience. Additionally, mosquitoes can be carriers of serious illnesses and diseases, including malaria, encephalitis and the West Nile virus. Because mosquitoes live in diverse climates and are attracted to carbon dioxide (our breath) and various types of scents, it is difficult to avoid them altogether. But by following a few guidelines, a hiker can lessen the irritations of mosquitoes.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Step 1
Avoid areas mosquitoes frequent. Hike on trails away from swamps and marshes, where water is motionless. Additionally, avoid trails that hug overgrown grasses, where mosquitoes can hatch, breed and feed.
Step 2
Hike during the daylight hours. Most mosquito species in the United States rest during warm afternoons and are most active around sunset. Keep in mind that mosquitoes are abundant during springtime, after surviving as an egg through winter.
Step 3
Do not scent your body or clothes. Mosquitoes are attracted to perfumes, body sweat and chemicals. Practice scent-limiting measures by wearing odorless deodorant and using scentless laundry detergent. Additionally, do not spray cologne or perfume on your skin or hiking gear.
Step 4
Eat to avoid mosquitoes. People who eat plenty of garlic and lemon naturally repel mosquitoes by the scent of their skin. Added tip? Ensure you get enough B1 vitamins.
Step 5
Cover up exposed skin. Wear lightweight, breathable layers in ivory, tan and white (as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors) and a hat. Tuck your hiking pants into your socks to prevent ankle bites.
Step 6
Apply a mosquito deterrent to your skin and clothes. While plenty of commercial products are available--from DEET to Off!--natural remedies can also repel mosquitoes. They include natural oils, garlic, vanilla extract, lemon eucalyptus and soybean oil-based products.

Tips & Warnings

Remember that coastal areas generally have high mosquito populations.
Avoid mosquito repellents that use harsh chemicals, and follow all instructions for chemical repellent application.

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