Fight the bite

Tips for keeping mosquitoes at bay

Closeup of mosquito on arm
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Protect yourself from West Nile virus

Mosquito Watch

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Friday, June 27, 2014

The mosquito season is upon us.

And with more rain expected over the next week, the number of mosquitoes buzzing around the city is expected to increase. The links below contain some tips designed to help you fight the bite.    

How to get rid of mosquitoes

Mosquitoes need water to lay eggs. Mosquito eggs left in stagnant water, even small amounts allowed to stand for a week or more, can develop into adult mosquitoes. Reducing or eliminating standing water is an effective and economical way to control mosquitoes and something all Manitobans can do around their homes:

  • Eliminate sources of standing water in your yard (e.g., flowerpots, watering cans, wheelbarrows, and puddles). Items that must remain in your yard, such as boats and gardening containers, should be covered or stored upside down.
  • Adjust tarps over grills, firewood piles, boats and other objects to avoid the collection of water.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of water-collecting objects and containers that must be left outdoors, such as flower pots or tire swings to drain any water. Consider replacing the swing with another type that does not collect water.
  • Cover any garbage, recycling or composting containers, to prevent water from collecting.
  • Replace water in birdbaths and outdoor pet dishes once every week.
  • Ensure that openings in rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or tightly sealed around the downspout. If a rain barrel is not screened, add 1/2 cup of household bleach to it once a week to get rid of any mosquito eggs, or empty the rain barrel if the water is more than a week old.
  • Keep swimming pools aerated, clean and chlorinated, even if they are not being used. Dump any water that collects on swimming pool covers.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. Change the water in wading pools at least once a week.
  • Keep eavestroughs and gutters clear of debris to prevent standing water.
  • Check under shrubbery and lawn coverings for hidden containers that may contain water.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate water that collects in low areas of your property.
  • Trim vegetation around your property, particularly around the foundation of your house. Weeds, tall grass and shrubbery provide ideal resting sites for adult mosquitoes.
  • Avoid over-watering your lawn or garden to the point where there is standing water that lasts for more than a few days.
  • Repair any leaks from outdoor water pipes, joints or hoses. Replace washers on outdoor taps that drip.
  • Make sure household and cottage drainage systems are working properly and are not blocked. Check that water is not collecting in septic tank discharge fields.

Mosquito repellant information

Insect repellent can help reduce your exposure to mosquito bites that may transmit disease. Whenever you go outdoors (during months when mosquitoes are present), you should use insect repellent, even if you're only going outside for a few minutes. Insect repellent should not be used on young infants. Always follow the manufacturers' instructions when using insect repellent. General information follows on the proper usage of various types of insect repellent:

1. Insect repellents which contain DEET:
*e.g. Skintastic OFF!, Deep Woods OFF!, Muskol, Off!

Concentration of DEET Protection time (approximate)
30% 6 hours
15% 5 hours
10% 3 hours
5% 2 hours
  • Children under 6 months of age: DO NOT use DEET on infants.
  • Children ages 6 months to 2 years: Use insect repellent with 10% DEET or less; apply only once daily.
  • Children between 2 and 12 years of age: Use insect repellent with 10% DEET or less; apply no more than three times daily.
  • Adults and individuals 12 years or older: Use insect repellent with 30% DEET or less.

2. Insect repellents which contain Lemon Eucalyptus Oil:
*e.g. Off! Botanicals

Concentration of Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Protection time (approximate)
30% 5 hours
10% 2 hours
  • Children under 3 years of age: DO NOT use Lemon Eucalyptus Oil on young children.
  • Adults and individuals 3 years or older: Use insect repellent with 10-30% Lemon Eucalyptus Oil.

3. Insect repellents which contain Soybean Oil:
*e.g. Bite Blocker

Concentration of Soybean Oil Protection time (approximate)
2% 3 hours
  • Can be used by adults and children of any age.

4. Insect repellents which contain Citronella Oil:
*e.g. Buzz Away, Herbal Armor

Concentration of Citronella Oil Protection time (approximate)
15% 1 hour
5% 30 minutes
  • Children under 3 years of age: DO NOT use Citronella Oil on young children.
  • Adults and individuals 3 years or older: Use insect repellent with 5-15% Citronella Oil and apply frequently as these insect repellents offer very short protection times.

General Information About the Use of Insect Repellents:

  • Cover baby carriages and strollers with fine mesh netting to protect infants.
  • All insect repellents should be used sparingly.
  • Prolonged use of insect repellents should be avoided.
  • Wash off repellent when no longer needed.
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent can be used together. However, sunscreen should be applied 15-20 minutes before applying insect repellent. If applied at the same time, DEET can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen.
  • Both sunscreen and insect repellent should be applied prior to going outdoors.

The product names listed are not exhaustive and are presented as examples only.

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