For most people, summertime is the best time of year, with warm weather bringing camping trips, barbecues and long evenings outdoors. There’s always a fly in the ointment, however, and summer insects can put a serious downer on your fun. Many insect populations boom during the summer months and can be a serious nuisance for anyone trying to enjoy time outdoors. Not only can these pests bite and sting, but some species (such as mosquitoes and ticks) may also introduce harmful pathogens to your bloodstream.
Fortunately, you can stop the bugs from your spoiling summer by taking simple steps to keep them at bay. But what are the most common summer bugs you’re likely to encounter, and how can you keep them away from you?
Ask anyone what their least favorite thing about summer is; there’s a good chance they’ll say mosquitoes! This biting insects exist on almost every continent and are universally loathed, mostly for the maddeningly itchy welts they leave on the skin of their victims.
But aside from being an evening nuisance, mosquitoes are also one of the world’s most dangerous creatures.
These tiny insects are well-known vectors for a whole host of potentially life-threatening diseases, including the Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, and malaria. The best way to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry is to prevent them from biting you in the first place, but how can you keep them away?
How can you keep mosquitoes away?
Mosquitoes are a worldwide pest, but there are several things you can do to reduce your chances of being bitten. The most reliable way to keep mosquitoes off you this summer is by using a reliable mosquito repellent. Formulations containing DEET or picaridin are widely considered to be the most effective, though natural sprays containing essential oils (such as lemon eucalyptus) can also work well.
Combine this with long, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible (especially in the evening) and consider sleeping under a mosquito net. Keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible, installing or repairing mesh screens and using a repellent spray around your house can also help to keep mosquitoes away from you this summer.
Wasps and yellowjackets
The warm summer months can bring about a surge in the number of stinging insects around your home and yard. Wasps and yellow jackets are often the most troublesome of these, as they are far more aggressive than bees and, therefore, more likely to sting you. In large numbers they can become dangerous, and receiving multiple stings can lead to serious medical complications. Keeping the number of wasps and yellowjackets around your home to a minimum is the best way to avoid injury, but how can you deter these stinging summer pests?
How can you keep wasps and yellowjackets away?
Yellowjackets and wasps are drawn to sugary foods and drinks and will quickly converge wherever there is soda or fruit left out. You can help to reduce the number of wasps and yellow jackets around your home by making sure they have nothing to feed on; dispose of all food waste quickly and keep outdoor trash cans closed to avoid attracting the insects. If you have fruit trees around your property, you should also keep an eye out for fallen fruit. This can quickly become overripe or rotten, drawing stingers from far and wide.
You can also prevent stinging summer bugs by making sure they don’t build nests on your property. Yellowjackets (the most aggressive type of stinger you’re likely to encounter this summer) build their nests underground. Finding and filling any rodent burrows on your property is, therefore, a reliable way to stop them from moving in.
Ticks are another insect species that explodes in numbers during the summer months. These bloodsucking bugs are a nightmare for people and pets alike and are easily picked up from outdoors. Once they’ve fastened themselves onto your skin, they gorge on your blood and must be removed carefully to avoid infection. Even if you do manage to cleanly remove ticks, these bugs can transmit a wide range of nasty diseases, such as Lyme disease. You can eliminate the risk of tick bites by keeping these insects far away from you – but what’s the best way to go about it?
How can you keep ticks away?
As with mosquitoes, the best way to prevent tick bites is by keeping the bugs off your skin altogether.
Repellent sprays containing DEET coupled with long, loose-fitting clothing is the most effective way to keep ticks at bay when you step outside.
Once you return indoors, inspect your clothes and skin thoroughly for any ticks that may have climbed aboard. To be absolutely safe, you can also bathe after coming indoors to remove any unattached insects that may be roaming your body.
Keep the number of ticks in your yard to a minimum by mowing your lawn regularly, as ticks can often be found hanging out in tall grass. If you keep firewood outdoors, make sure it is neatly stacked and placed in direct sunlight to deter bugs from hiding here. If your garden is overrun with ticks, you can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth over your lawn to cut their numbers.
Bugs may be an inevitable aspect of summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence! Though populations of summer insects like wasps, yellowjackets, ticks, and mosquitoes often explode as soon as the warm weather kicks in, there is plenty you can do to keep them away from you. Make your yard and home a bug-free zone by implementing simple pest control measures against the most common types of summer bugs and use repellent sprays and clothing to prevent bites and stings.