Most mosquitoes avoid direct sunlight, coming out at night to feed. This means you’re far more likely to get bitten by those pesky bugs while you’re asleep, but luckily there are a few things you can do to prevent them getting into your room in the first place.
Why are there more mosquitoes in summer?
Mosquitoes are cold-blooded, so they love hot weather. During the summer, the warm temperatures are the perfect environment for them, making them more active. Plus, the warmth allows them to grow much quicker, and they also love humidity - so if it’s been raining just before a heatwave, you’ll likely see a lot of mozzies about.
Why are mosquitoes so attracted to me?
Even though mosquitoes feed on blood, they’re attracted to the lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia that your body releases when you sweat. So, whether you naturally sweat more, or have just finished a workout, you’re more likely to get bitten if they can smell these substances on your skin.
Mosquitoes are attracted to any smell that alerts them that you're a viable 'host', like the carbon dioxide you breathe out, which lets them know you're a living being with a blood supply they can feed on. Gross!
You're more likely to be bitten by any type of bug at night, as this is when you pose the least threat to them. Your unconscious body can't swat them away, so you should take precautions to keep your skin safe and bite free.
What does a mosquito bite look like?
Not sure if what you're dealing with is a mosquito? A bite from a mozzie is puffy, swollen and red or white in colour. Vitally, it'll have a small puncture hole in the very centre, where the mosquito's mouthpart has pierced your skin. The saliva they inject as they suck your blood is what causes the bite to itch so much, and some people have worse reactions to this saliva than others.
How do I know if I have a mosquito bite or a bed bug bite?
Bites from mosquitoes and bed bugs can look very similar, but there are some key differences to look out for so you know what critter you're dealing with.
Bed bugs will almost always bite in a row, giving you at least three raised lumps. Mosquito bites will be more dispersed. Bed bug bites will appear as a cluster of small pimples, and sometimes have liquid inside. Mosquito bites, however, will be more red and inflamed around the actual bite area. Mosquito bites are soft blisters whereas bed bug bites are hard pimples.
Bed bug bites can take days to show up and start to get itchy, whereas mosquito bites will start to itch straight away.
4 Ways You Can Keep Mosquitoes Out Of Your Home
Our House and Home Experts have researched the four most effective ways to keep mosquitoes out of your bedroom, and prevent you getting bitten at night.
1. Get rid of standing water in and around your room
Mosquitoes love to breed around standing water (as in any water that isn’t running, like a stream). While it’s unlikely you’ll have a lake in your bedroom, you might have plant pots or even pet water bowls.
If you have indoor plants in your room, make sure you’re watering them properly and they don’t have pools of water in their saucers that mosquitoes would love to hatch their eggs in.
The same goes for damp patches in your room - mozzies love humidity and moisture, so if your room is damp, you’re more likely to see those bitey bugs around.
2. Try some essential oils like lemon or peppermint
As mentioned earlier, mosquitoes love salty, sweaty skin. So, the best way to prevent being bittent night is to prevent them from smelling your body odour, and repel them with a smell they hate.
Lots of bugs, including mosquitoes, hate strong citrus smells. You should invest in an essential oil diffuser, which will periodically emit your chosen scent into the air throughout the night. Keep the diffuser on your bedside table, and you’ll find bugs keep a distance from you.
Lavender also works well at keeping bugs and mosquitoes at bay, as the smell overloads their olfactory organs - essentially their ‘nose’ - in the same way bug spray does. Lavender is an excellent choice for nighttime, as the smell also helps you get to sleep. Read our post on The Top 5 Natural Sleep Supplements To Help You Sleep Better for more information on how lavender works.
If you don’t have any bug spray or a diffuser, you can rub a few drops of essential oil onto your skin - especially key areas such as your ankles - to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes at night.
3. Control the lighting and air circulation in your room
Lots of mosquito species are attracted to light, and they use light to locate their ‘hosts’. Therefore, it’s vital you block out as much light as possible in your room to prevent the mosquitoes from being attracted to you.
Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk, so make sure your room is as dark as possible during these times. If you do need a light on, use a dim, yellow-coloured bulb, as the bugs will be less attracted to it.
While you might need the window open in the summer because of the heat, it’s a surefire way of inviting mosquitoes into your room. If you are going to leave the window ajar - for example if you’ve read our post on The 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Run Your Fan All Night - then make sure you use a protective netting that fully blocks the window.
4. If you’re out of options, turn your fan on
We know, we’ve been telling you that running your fan all night is a bad idea. However, if you can deal with the dry mouth and coughing, having a fan in your room can prevent mosquitoes from entering.
Mosquitoes aren’t very good fliers and struggle with even a gentle breeze - another reason you only tend to see them in calm summer months. Therefore, the wind stream from a fan will make it difficult for them to fly, discouraging them from sticking around in your bedroom.
Another way a fan will keep you protected from mosquitoes is that it’ll disperse the carbon dioxide you breathe out, which is another factor that attracts them to you.
Just remember to not have the fan pointed directly at you, as a constant stream of cold air can cause muscle stiffness and pain.
Of course, there are some more simple ways to not get bitten by any type of bug at night, for example wearing clothing that covers as much skin as possible. In the summer, this might not be practical, so try these tips to enjoy a cool night’s sleep without being bitten.
For more tips on getting rid of bugs in your home, you can read our post on getting rid of ladybirds, flies, spiders, moths and bed bugs - or read our dedicated post on preventing bed bugs in your home!