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Warm French weather brings out mosquitoes: How to avoid being bitten

Try these natural and chemical methods to avoid becoming a snack for disease-carrying insects

The arrival of spring has brought welcome sunshine, blue skies and rising temperatures - but also the less-welcome return of mosquitoes, notably in the south of France.

Mosquitoes live on average for seven days, but do not usually stray more than around 200 metres from where they hatch. This means that if they hatch near your window or home, they will likely stay there.

According to the website Vigilance Moustiques - which encourages people in France to contact them if they see the insects, tiger mosquitoes have also now colonised 63 departments. You can also report mosquitoes on the government-backed Signalement Moustique site.

But the more pressing concern for many people is avoiding being bitten. There are a number of ways to repel the insects, whose bites can cause a rash, and which can carry a number of diseases.

Avoid standing water

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. They love swampy areas and waterlogged ditches - and they will gather in urban areas where water collects - including tubs and planters near houses. Avoid, or ensure that water is removed and replaced regularly.

Mosquito nets

Keep mosquitoes out of rooms at home by fitting a mosquito net on windows and doors if possible, or around your bed so you don't get bitten as you sleep.

Natural techniques

Citronella candles are effective in small or confined areas - but be aware that some non-organic candles can release toxic substances. Try to use organic products if possible, or make them yourself.

Clever planting

Lemongrass, geraniums, garlic, rosemary and mint are among the plants that naturally repel mosquitoes. Find out more here

Chemical methods - repellent plugs

If you don't have a mosquito net on your window, plugs that release repellent chemicals will work. Be aware that the most commonly available contain insecticides that may affect the health of children and pregnant women - though more organic products are now on the market.

Mosquito repellent

The effectiveness of chemical repellents in cream or spray form vary depending on their composition - these are the mosquito repellents that work best. The most effective are based on DEET at concentrations of 25% to 30%. But it warned that such products may be harmful to children under the age of six and pregnant women.

Read more

Mosquitoes banned from town in rural France

Batty solution to France's increasing mosquito problem

How to keep bugs at bay in rural French homes

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