Rarely have people been so upset about mosquitoes as in this past week: a plague of mosquitoes seems to have arrived in the Netherlands and most surrounding countries.
The reason it is possible to have so many blood thirsty mosquitoes swarm around us, is that mosquito eggs incubate in water puddles as small as a rain gutter, cavities on flat roofs, empty plant pots or pet bowls.
In 14 days or less when it is very warm, larvae become fully grown adults, of which the females start searching for blood. The combination of a semi-monsoon in June and sudden tropical heat in July caused a mosquito 'babyboom'.
So, what can be done to repel mosquitoes? Since the vast majority of mosquitoes were hatched around your house, an important precaution is to prevent the formation of water puddles by proper draining of gutters and turning over unused plant pots and pet bowls.
The best way to prevent mosquitoes bite you, without using insecticides is to completely cover up your arms and legs with loose fitting trousers, shirts, socks and if needed, a hat.
Loose-fit because tight fitting shirts don't offer protection against mosquitoes, which can penetrate right through cloth.
Pay extra attention during dawn and dusk, because this is the period when mosquitoes are most active. At night use a finely-meshed window screen to keep mosquitoes out. Or, if you can't use window screens, use mosquito netting.
Mosquitoes are most attracted by your skin odour as well as your breath (mostly CO2) that form a scent trail. By operating a ventilator, you can confuse them, so they may not find you as easily.
As far as your skin scent is concerned, mosquitoes are particularly attracted to sweat that is fermented by bacteria on your skin.
Avoid sweat fermentation by taking showers more frequently, especially at night before going asleep.
Make sure to change into clean clothes more often and more specifically, put on clean socks as mosquitoes are particularly attracted to dirty feet and socks.
As for supplements, the use of vitamin B1 as well as garlic creates an odour that is unattractive to mosquitoes.
Another method to repel mosquitoes without resorting to insecticides is to use your preferred perfume or cologne all over your body. While citronella or lemon eucalyptus oil has a better track record, but if you are like me, the stench will keep you awake. Perfume that is enjoyable, appears to work just as well, provided its longevity is at least 6 hours.
We do not recommend the use of specific insecticides, unless the advantages outweigh the disadvantages such as when you stay in areas that are known to be infested with malaria or zika mosquitoes. In case you are bitten by a mosquito, you can reduce the itching by applying an ice cube for several minutes.