How to keep Mosquitoes from biting when outside in the Cedar Rapids area

mosquitosAh, summer time …. What a great time to spend outdoors in the Cedar Rapids area!! We look forward to this all winter and now that it’s here, we have to share it with MOSQUITOES!!!

You need a blood transfusion every time you step outside in the Morning or evening. Should you spray? Splash yourself with Skin so soft, vanilla, absorbine jr., OFF or wear dryer sheets? Are you a mosquito magnet?

For such a little insect, it is sure a big and costly problem.

What should you do?

  • Remove any and all standing water including drill holes in the bottom of any outside container. Clean and unclog gutters making sure all drain spouts are free to drain and not pool water.
  • Swimming pools need to be clean and chlorinated even if unused. If you leave for a few days and leave your pool un-chlorinated, you’ve just become a haven for mosquito larva.
  • Turn your wading pool over when not in use to prevent rainwater to collect.
  • Dump birdbaths twice a week, empty your “saucers” under your potted plants. Who knew? AND don’t leave outside pet water in bowls for more than two days …. Those little mosquitos will make new mosquitoes EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE!!
  • So, if you have your yard all mosquito proofed, what else can you do to prevent these little blood suckers from eating you alive?
  • Invest in yellow bulbs, tiki torches, citronella candles and lanterns when you’re entertaining outside – if you’re brave enough.

Dowse your yard with repellent. Here is an all natural way of making your own:

And as I mentioned before …. “Skin so Soft”, Vanilla spray, Absorbine Jr. and Bounce ® drier sheets. If you put bounce in both pockets, it is suppose to ward off mosquitoes. HOWEVER, according to Wayne J. Crans, Associate Research Professor in Entomology at Rutgers University, these often-touted mosquito solutions are not worth your time or money.

Things that also don’t work? Bug zappers (but are fun to watch), citrosa plants – even those grown to fend off mosquitoes, bats, purple martins (as good as they are, mosquitoes aren’t their only diet), or electronic devises that send out sounds.

But what is a magnet for mosquitoes? Or a repellent?


Repels – Peppermint oil and catnip. In fact catnip is 10 times more powerful than DEET.

Don’t repel – garlic, citronella, vitamin B, bug zappers or bats

Attracts – blond hair, perfume, dark colors, larger humans attract more than smaller humans because of their greater relative heat or carbon dioxide.

If you DO douse yourself with repellent, which stays on longer?

Skeeter Defeater Ammo Spray                                                2 weeks.

(Pyrethrin A Botanical Insecticide)

OFF! Deep Woods (23.8% DEET)                                            5 hours

Sawyer Controlled Release (20% DEET)                             4 hours

OFF! Skintastic (6.65% DEET) 2 hours

Repel Mosquito Stop (.5% permothrin)                              2 hours

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellant                       2 hours

Bite blocker for kids (2% soybean oil)                                1.5 hours

OFF! Skintastic for Kids (4.75% DEET)                              1.5 hours

Skin-so-Soft Bug Guard Plus (7.5 IR3535)                        23 minutes

Natrapel (10% citronella)                                                         20 minutes

Skin-so-Soft Bug Guard (.1% citronella)                              10 minutes

Skin-so-Soft Bath Oil 10 minutes

Gone Original Wristband (9.5% DEET)                                  0 minutes

Information partially from

According to, “repellents containing ingredients such as diethyl phthalate, diethyl carbate; N, N-Diethyl-3-Methylbenzamide (DEET), metofluthrin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus, picaridin and ethyl hexanediol. DEET is the most effective in repelling mosquitos.” They also report, “The American Academy of Pediatrics says products containing up to and including 30 percent DEET can be used on children.  The AAP says DEET-based repellents can be used on children two months of age and older.”

The best way to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the Cedar Rapids area is to wear hats, long sleeves and pants during peak mosquito hours.

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