According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been more than 60 limited outbreaks and more than 150 locally acquired cases linked to mosquitoes in the United States. There have also been more than 2,000 cases of malaria reported every year. So not only are these insects a nuisance, but they also present a big risk to people’s health and lives.
When the weather starts cooling down, many think mosquitoes stop being a problem. While this is true for some places where practically everything freezes, it’s not the same with other states. See, for many parts of the country, the temperatures don’t go low enough to kill such insects. But exactly how cold does it have to be to kill mosquitoes? Let’s find out below.
How Cold Does It Have to Be to Kill Mosquitoes?
Most mosquitoes, according to WebMD, will either die, migrate or hibernate when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why in the United States, the mosquito season typically starts during early spring and ends when the first freeze arrives. However, for places with warmer weather, you may have to deal with these blood-suckers all year round.
Unfortunately, some mosquitoes have already adapted to all weather conditions known to man, including the cold. You can find mosquitoes even in arctic areas like Alaska. Additionally, their eggs can withstand the cold as well. And as soon as spring arrives, these eggs will all hatch.
That said, while cold temperatures affect mosquitoes by slowing them down or killing them, you still need to take extra precautions to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the illnesses they carry.
How to Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes?
Luckily, there are simple ways that you can do to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes, including the following:
1. Use Insect Repellent
An insect repellent is safe and effective in keeping mosquitoes away from you. Even pregnant and breastfeeding moms can use them with no worries. Just make sure that you use EPA-registered mosquito repellents that contain either DEET, IR3535, 2-Undecanone, Picaridin, para-menthane-diol (PMD), or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). If you are going to use it on your child or anyone under 3 years old, look for products that do not use OLE or PMD.
While many can attest to the effectiveness of natural insect repellents, such products have not been evaluated by the EPA and CDC. Thus, their effectiveness is not known. So if you want to be sure you are buying a product that works, best stick with EPA-registered repellents.
- Low DEET formula combined with a refreshing, light scent
- Repels mosquitos that may carry West Nile Virus
- Repels mosquitos, biting flies, gnats, no-see-ums, and chiggers up to 2 hours
- Contains 5% DEET
If you are interested in buying an insect repellent for your whole family, you can check out the OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent III. It can repel mosquitoes, biting flies, no-see-ums, chiggers, and gnats for up to 2 hours. It also features a low DEET formula combined with a light scent that won’t irritate you or your kids.
- Won't stain
- Long lasting protection from ticks, mosquitoes and biting flies
- Resists perspiration
- For active outdoor adventures: hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking
For something stronger, consider the OFF! Deep Woods Sportsmen Insect and Mosquito Repellent II. It can protect you from mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, black flies, fleas, chiggers, no-see-ums, and gnats. Moreover, it can provide up to 8 hours of protection.
2. Cover Up
Aside from using insect repellent, you should also cover up. For instance, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. For added protection, you can buy permethrin-treated clothes and gear. Or you can use permethrin to treat your things, including pants, socks, boots, and tents. Having this insecticide on your clothes and gear will help kill or repel mosquitoes.
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To give you an idea, the RealTree Men’s Insect Shield can help keep mosquitoes, bugs, ants, ticks, and other insects away from your feet and legs.
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There are also permethrin-treated long-sleeved shirts that are effective in protecting you from mosquitoes, like the Solstice Apparel Insect Repellent Hooded Tee for women or the ExOfficio BugsAway Sandfly Jacket for men.
3. Check Inside and Around Your Home
One of the best ways to protect you and your family from mosquitoes is to stop them from laying eggs in or near a water source. So once a week, empty and clean, cover, turn over or get rid of items that may hold water in and out of your home. This includes flowerpots, trash cans, tires, buckets, pools, birdbaths, planters, and even toys.
4. Use Screens on Windows and Doors
To protect your home from mosquitoes, consider installing screens on your windows and doors. If you already have them, make sure there are no holes where these insects can enter.
Suggested Read: How Cold Does It Have To Be To Frost?
Frequently Asked Questions About Pesky Mosquitoes
What diseases do mosquitoes carry?
Mosquitoes are known to spread the following diseases:
1. Zika: This disease is found in many parts of the world, including South and Central America, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. It is known to cause microcephaly, which is a birth defect that causes brain damage and small heads.
2. Dengue: This disease is common in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Puerto Rico, and Latin America. It is, however, rare in the United States. If caught, you can experience fever, headache, bleeding gums, rashes, and get easily bruised. In worse cases, it can lead to hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
3. West Nile: Here’s a more common disease in the US. It can be found in every state except for Hawaii and Alaska. It can cause fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, and joint pain. It can also cause brain infections such as meningitis or encephalitis.
4. Malaria: Most cases of this disease occur in South Asia, South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and many other regions.
5. Yellow Fever: Mosquitoes are known to spread this disease in places like Latin America and Africa. From its name, it causes your eyes and skin to look yellowish. In less serious cases, it will give you chills, backache, headache, and make you vomit.
6. Chikungunya: This disease was originally found in India and Asia. But in more recent years, there were cases recorded in the Americas and Europe as well. It can cause severe joint pain, headache, nausea, rashes, and fatigue.
7. La Crosse Encephalitis: This disease can cause you to have fever, headaches, and nausea. In more serious cases, it can lead to nervous system changes. Mosquitoes that carry this disease usually live in wooded areas in the mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest, and Southeast states.
8. Rift Valley Fever: Symptoms of this disease include weakness and dizziness. It is also known to damage your eyes. Furthermore, it is common in some parts of Africa as well as Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
9. Jamestown Canyon Virus: There are less than 50 cases of this disease reported annually in the United States. It has similar flu-like symptoms, including headache and fever. But it can also cause more severe problems such as the inflammation of your spinal cord or brain.
10. Snowshoe Hare Virus: While decades-old and originally found in Canada, this disease is now showing up in the United States. It can cause dizziness, rashes, headaches, and vomiting. It can also lead to inflammation of the brain.
11. Japanese Encephalitis: When bitten by an infected mosquito, most people will have no to mild symptoms. However, it may cause inflammation of the brain, high fever, coma, tremors, convulsions, headache, and disorientation for a small percentage of people.
When should you worry about a mosquito bite?
If you notice any of the following symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, seek emergency medical assistance immediately: Rash, Joint or muscle pain, Exhaustion, Persistent headache, Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and/or difficulty in breathing.
Do male mosquitoes bite?
No. Male mosquitoes do not bite people or animals.
How long do mosquitoes live?
Many mosquitoes live for only 2 to 3 months. However, there are also species of mosquitoes that live much shorter. Culex pipiens, for example, only has 7 days to live. But generally, female mosquitoes live longer than males.