How not to become a tasty treat for mosquitoes, ticks and other pests

Simple strategies to prevent insect encounters and soothe pesky bites

As the temperature heats up, so does insect activity. But don’t let buzzing pests put a damper on your outdoor fun. With a few smart tactics, you can minimize bug bites and enjoy a more comfortable summer.

Here’s how to prevent, treat and soothe your way to a great season, based on advice from entomologists and dermatologists interviewed by Yahoo Life.


Prevention is key when it comes to insect encounters. Start by making your environment less appealing to bugs; make sure your home is clean and wash your sheets often. Eliminate standing water to discourage mosquito breeding. Keep your lawn trimmed and outdoor areas tidy to reduce hiding spots for ticks and other creepy crawlies. When dining al fresco, cover food and drinks to avoid attracting wasps and yellow jackets.

You can also flip on a fan when you’re lounging outside. “Placing fans overhead on porches or on the ground on a patio can steer mosquitoes away from people,” Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, associate director of community and urban integrated pest management at Cornell University, told Yahoo Life.

For personal protection, embrace the power of repellents. Look for products containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. If you’re heading into tick territory, consider permethrin-treated clothing for an extra layer of defense.

Treat and soothe

If you find yourself on the menu, don’t panic — most bites and stings are more annoying than dangerous. For run-of-the-mill mosquito bites, bee stings or ant attacks, follow this simple first-aid routine:

  • Clean the area with mild soap and water
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling
  • Use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to ease itching
  • Take an antihistamine if symptoms persist

For bee stings, remove the stinger by scraping it with a credit card edge. Avoid using tweezers, which can squeeze out more venom.

Tick bites require special attention. If you find a tick attached, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it close to the skin and pull steadily upward. Clean the bite area thoroughly with alcohol and monitor for signs of illness, such as a rash or fever.

For any bug bite or sting, seek medical attention if you develop a fever, a spreading redness, difficulty breathing or other symptoms.

By taking proactive steps to avoid bugs and knowing how to treat bites, you can focus on what really matters —savoring those long summer days and warm, starry nights.