Ankle-biting mosquitoes. One of the things that we dread about being outdoors for any length of time. Something about that lower leg and ankle area just seems to be SOOO much more sensitive to those mosquito bites.
How many times has your kid scratched open a series of bites just in an effort to relieve these itchy bumps? It’s such a difficult area to deal with too. Sometimes, covering these bite marks with socks and shoes irritate the welts even further.
The worst part? These ankle-biters don’t seem to care what time of day it is. While a lot of bugs hideaway during the heat of the day, these ankle-biters are out in full force regardless of the weather or time.
As a parent, it can be so hard to hear your kid suffer from mosquito bites that seem to appear at the most inconvenient times. Who wants to cut their trip to the local park short because of itchy mosquito bites?
At The Natural Patch Co., we want to make sure you understand why mosquitoes bite and how you can avoid them. We’re here to educate you on the pesky little bugs and provide preventative protection. In this article, we are going to cover what exactly ankle-biting mosquitoes are and how to protect yourself and your family.
Read on for the best tips and tricks to keep your family safe while building sweet memories that last long beyond that sunny day at the seashore.
Why Do Some Mosquitoes Bite Ankles?
There are two specific types of mosquitoes that LOVE to bite your ankles.
Let’s get scientific: They’re called the Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Since that’s a bit of a mouthful, they’re also often referred to as the Asian Tiger Mosquito and the Yellow Fever Mosquito.
Guess what? These aren’t even native bugs to most of the world! However, because they are so resilient and can adapt to so many climates, they’ve made their way around the globe through air travel, shipping containers, and other transported materials.
Mosquitoes aren’t the only buggy creature that plays stowaway in our luggage; bedbugs are also a huge threat to travelers.
To keep bugs out of your bags, follow these tips:
- Keep your suitcase off the ground by taking advantage of luggage racks.
- Avoid traveling with food. If you must, wrap it up nice and tight.
- Watch out for cardboard. Yes, bugs love laying eggs in cardboard, so toss it pronto.
All Over the World, All Over Our Ankles
So, yeah: Bugs are on a first-class ticket all over the globe. Now, we can all bond over our hatred of the little guys… isn’t that wonderful?
You might be thinking, “Hold on… ASIAN TIGER? YELLOW FEVER?” While these bugs can carry disease, not all of them do. BUT they can carry more than one disease.
While the Yellow Fever Mosquito got its name from its role in spreading the virus, it’s also well known for spreading Dengue Fever, West Nile, Zika, and basically every other disease a mosquito can carry.
The good news is that these viruses do tend to stay in regional areas since mosquitoes typically don’t travel far (unless they’re hitchhiking across the ocean like their ancestors). So, unless your local area is being affected by an outbreak, you probably don’t need to panic every time you see a bite on your child.
Now that we’ve had a bit of a science lesson, let’s get back to the original question: Why do mosquitoes bite your ankles?
It turns out that they do it because they smell our feet! These mosquitoes aren’t opposed to biting other parts of your body, but they like to lie low in the grass and leaves that you’re likely venturing through with your kids. When they are disturbed, they start buzzing around near the ground and smell your feet which leads them to your ankles.
So how can you “hide” your ankles from these guys? Unfortunately, no matter how often you wash your feet, your body naturally gives off more odor there than other areas of your body. Mosquitoes are attracted to our human smells: sweat, body odor, and blood.
Why Do I Have SO MANY Bites in One Spot?
These mosquitoes are truly ruthless. Some will bite multiple times, leaving multiple spots on one ankle. Other times, they brunch with friends, and you may actually be bit by multiple mosquitoes within the span of a few minutes... an experience that will leave you and your kids wanting to flee the scene and head indoors.
Ankle-biting mosquitoes love to hang out in cooler, humid places in your yard. So if you’re enjoying the shade while watching the kids play and noticing that you’re being attacked, you may just need to move away from the area you’re in to prevent further bites.
Additionally, avoid giving them a place to hang out if you can. While that umbrella over your porch might be nice for you and your family to enjoy the space, it’s also encouraging mosquitoes to move in there too.
If possible, remove the shade from the area you’re going to spend time in by closing the umbrella until you need to be there. This will prevent hordes of mosquitoes from stealing your favorite hangout spot.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these mosquitoes breed very quickly, so if you see one, there are probably a ton in the area. They’re all looking for the same food source, too: Blood.
Fun fact: only female mosquitoes will suck your blood. They do so in order to prepare for the reproductive process that takes a ton of energy. This process usually takes place over just a few days, so they need a lot of energy very quickly. This makes them EXTREMELY good at smelling out your feet and ankles the second you step outside.
Because of this great need to feed on blood for energy, sometimes that means feasting in rapid succession so they can go and lay their eggs in a nearby location.
How Do I Prevent These Mosquitoes From Breeding in My Yard?
After reading that last section, you might be thinking, “How do I keep these ankle-biters out of my yard to begin with?” The answer: eliminate breeding grounds.
Another little science lesson: Do you know how long it takes for a mosquito egg to hatch?
The answer? ONE TO THREE DAYS!
When you take into account that a single female mosquito can lay upwards of 100 to 200 eggs at a time, you can see how an infestation can quickly take place. This can turn your backyard into the last place you want to spend time with your kids.
Take Down the Welcome Sign
So how do you make your yard less hospitable to these pests?
There are a few options:
Mosquitoes LOVE standing water. Their eggs are tiny, so it doesn’t take a lot of water. This could be rainwater in your kid’s sandbox shovel, a standing puddle at the base of your rain gutters, that spot under the swings that never seems to dry, or even inside an old tree stump.
By getting rid of as much water as you can by dumping it out of toys or flower pots or by filling in holes in the yard and under the swings, you’ll reduce the chances that mosquitos will be able to thrive in your backyard.
Fewer mosquitoes = less itchy ankles and feet!
Is it too late? Have you and your kids already been a snack for these little buggers? Don’t worry! We also have the tools to soothe angry mosquito bites. They’re called our MagicPatch Itch Relief Patches. You apply them like a bandage to those annoying bites, and the natural ingredients relieve itching in under a minute.
These are awesome for ankles because they can prevent socks and pants from rubbing up against the irritated skin and causing the itch to intensify. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your kids scratching open the bump and introducing all of the wonderful bacteria that are living under their fingernails to an open wound (hello, infection).
How Will BuzzPatch Protect My Family?
Need a powerful but safe and natural way to protect your family from frenzied flyers?
Our team at The Natural Patch Co. has worked hard with leading scientists and entomologists to make a mosquito repellent patch that you and your entire family will love to use! We call it: BuzzPatch. It looks like a fun sticker but is really hiding your children from mosquitoes with the scents of natural essential oils.
Why do parents and kids love BuzzPatch? Simple: First, who doesn’t like to wear a sticker? Stickers are like GOLD to kids—so, why not avoid the battle of spraying or slathering them with mosquito repellent when you can let them choose a fun sticker instead?
Our stickers are made from natural essential oils, and you can simply stick them to your clothing to prevent mosquitoes from smelling you. Stick some on your socks or shoes to protect those ankles, and forget about these annoying little bugs!
Globe-Trotting Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus: Risk Factors for Arbovirus Pandemics | NCBI
Mosquitoes on a plane: Disinsection will not stop the spread of vector-borne pathogens, a simulation study | NCBI
'Ankle biter' mosquito breeding on the rise throughout Southern California | ABC 7 News