What can I do to minimise the discomfort caused by mosquitoes?
Make sure mosquitoes do not lay eggs around your house. Mosquitoes tend to lay eggs in stagnant water – for instance, in plates or saucers under plant pots, or in gutters and rainwater tanks, or maybe in water caught in tarpaulins covering garden furniture, between chunks of firewood or in inflatable paddling pools.
- Be sure to check your yard or balcony regularly (once weekly) for stagnant water.
- Empty plates and saucers, drain the water that has gathered on tarpaulins and clean the gutters regularly.
- Make sure rainwater tanks are fully covered to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in them.
- Refresh the water in your swimming or paddling pool or drain it altogether if you are not going to use the pool for a while.
- Having a pond in your yard may increase the number of mosquitoes in and around your home, as well. Make sure that the water in your pond is clean enough to sustain all sorts of creatures that live in water, such as water beetles, dragonfly larvae, fish and/or amphibians that like to feed on mosquito larvae. A working fountain will prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs on the surface of the water.
Be sure to read the following articles on the NVWA’s website (in Dutch): More tips to keep your home safe or Tips for travellers. These will help you prevent the spread of mosquitoes and provide more information on the monitoring of mosquitoes in the Netherlands.
What can I do to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes?
- If you are going outside at dusk, be sure to wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. In the Netherlands, mosquitoes tend to be most active at dusk, in the evening and at night.
- Applying an insect repellent to your skin can be helpful, as well. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or citronella have been scientifically proven to be effective.
- Consider installing fly screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- To stop mosquitoes from preventing you from falling asleep at night, consider installing a mosquito net above your bed.
Can mosquito bites make me sick?
Only mosquitoes infected with a pathogen (a parasite or virus that makes people ill) can transmit diseases to the people they bite. Mosquitoes in the Netherlands are very unlikely to transmit pathogens to humans.
The late summer of 2020 marked the first time the West Nile virus was found in a person who had been infected by a mosquito in the Netherlands.
What types of mosquitoes can be found in the Netherlands?
Mosquito species that are native to the Netherlands are called indigenous species. The most common indigenous species is the common house mosquito (Culex pipiens).
In addition to this indigenous species, certain exotic species can occasionally be found in the Netherlands, as well, such as Asian tiger mosquitoes and yellow fever mosquitoes. These species may enter the Netherlands via products imported from other countries, or via travellers who unwittingly carry a mosquito with them. Read more about exotic mosquitoes (in Dutch).
How to recognise common house mosquitoes
Common house mosquitoes are medium-sized and their colour ranges from light brown to dark brown. Their legs are completely brown. The most invasive exotic mosquitoes, such as the Asian tiger mosquito, have white stripes on their legs.
To learn more about the differences between common house mosquitoes and Asian tiger mosquitoes, visit : Steekmuggen (eis-nederland.nl) (in Dutch).
Are mosquitoes drawn by certain types of blood?
Some people are bitten more often than others, but that is not because of their blood types. Mosquitoes are drawn by the air you breathe out (carbon dioxide), your scent and your body heat. Some humans exude other smells than others. As a result, some people are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than others. Some people like to claim they have ‘sweet blood’, but in reality, there is no such thing. Mosquitoes bite because they need the proteins in your blood to produce eggs. Only female mosquitoes bite. Male mosquitoes do not bite.
Are mosquitoes attracted to light?
No, mosquitoes are not attracted to light. They are mainly attracted to scents, such as sweat. They are also attracted to the air humans breathe out (CO2, also known as carbon dioxide) and to body heat.