Mosquitoes traditionally start to appear in spring, with the population peak expected throughout summer. There are around 300 mosquito species in Australia, and they’re found in virtually all parts of Australia.
In addition to being a very pesky irritation, some mosquitoes can transmit diseases, in Australia most commonly Ross River virus.
Mosquitoes need still pools of water to breed successfully, so their populations are impacted by weather and related conditions.
This year’s forecasted wet summer is tipped to produce extra fertile breeding conditions as La Niña weather patterns create more rainfall.
But I Live 10 Floors Up! Can Mosquitoes Reach My Apartment?
There is a common myth that mosquitoes cannot fly higher than about 8 metres. This is absolutely wrong!
In general, mosquitoes that bite humans prefer to fly at heights of less than 8 metres. However, mosquitoes can be found breeding in tree holes 50 feet above ground and they can actually thrive in high rise apartment buildings. Overhead tanks containing even 1 inch of stagnant water is an ideal breeding spot for example.
Height is never an issue for mosquitoes, and they have been seen to be breeding as high as 2.5km in the Himalayas and as low as 600mbelow ground in mines.
Methods to keep away Mosquitoes
Apart from products containing DEET there are a myriad of (non-toxic) methods to avoid getting bitten, but what actually works?
Maintaining Fly Screens
Maintain fly screens on windows, doors, vents and chimneys. Screens should be no coarser than 12 x 12 meshes per 25mm, or 1.2mm. Use an even coarser mesh if you wish to keep out other smaller biting insects, like sandflies.
Remove Sources Of Standing Water
One of the easiest ways to prevent mosquito infestations is to remove any sources of standing water, as that’s where lady mosquitoes opt to lay their eggs. Make sure to clean pet water bowls, vases, watering cans and buckets, and trash cans at least once per week.
Head Inside During And/Or After Exercise
Mosquitoes love carbon dioxide and humans produce more of it when exercising vigorously or sweating a lot,
So if you notice that bites are increasing when getting active outdoors, head inside for a bit until your body temperature cools down.
Avoid Wearing Dark Colours
We are more visible to mosquitoes when wearing dark clothes. So if you’re heading outside choose lighter coloured clothing, and avoid very dark outfits.
Keep Fans Spinning
Mosquitoes are repelled by moving and circulating air — so keeping ceiling and room fans spinning is a great way to help stop mosquitoes from buzzing about your apartment.
Seal Off Your Entrances
Seal off all entrance points with weather stripping and door sweeps in order to keep mosquitoes out of your apartment. Sealing your entrances will not only help keep the flying pests out of your apartment, but can also help you reduce your energy costs.
Always consult your body corporate before making any modifications to your apartment.
Install Mosquito Nets
If the mosquitoes are really bad, curtains and nets can be a great way to keep mosquitos out of your apartment, and they don’t need to be all that expensive.
Some mosquito curtains are a bit of an investment but can be customized for your apartment. And another extra budget friendly option is this magnetic screen door that you can easily install and then remove as needed.
Certain plants repel mosquitoes; so having some pots of lavender, catnip, basil, or marigolds around can help make your apartment less attractive to the little pests.
Light a Candle or Lamp
If you don’t have the space to plant a garden on your balcony, you can purchase candles or lamps that will also do the trick. The most common option is citronella candles or lamps. However, if you’re allergic to citronella, there are alternatives that contain natural ingredients like soy.
Even though candles are effective, they do not cover a large area — usually around a 4-foot radius.
Non-toxic Bug Spray
You might still need a good non-toxic mosquito repellent to help keep those little flying critters at bay. Soy-based repellents, and those made with oil of lemon eucalyptus, as effective natural mosquito repellents.
A mozzie repelling classic and they’re still a great option today. Mosquito coils, when lit, provide a bite-free zone when outdoors.
While hordes of mosquitoes may seem like an inevitability during summer, there’s still lots of things you can do to reduce bites and infestations — and with a few simple steps and precautionary measures, you can enjoy theses warmer days without all those annoying bites.