What is a Mosquito Net and When Should I Use One?

Bed under a mosquito net

One invaluable tool stands out in the battle against relentless, pesky mosquitoes: the trusty mosquito net. But what exactly is a mosquito net, and when should you consider using one? Let’s unravel the mysteries and unveil the benefits of this remarkable barrier.

What is a Mosquito Net?

A mosquito net is a finely woven mesh fabric that creates a protective shield against mosquitoes and other insects. Its primary function is to act as a physical barrier, preventing these buzzing intruders from reaching you while allowing airflow for comfortable sleep or relaxation. 

How they’re made: Mosquito nets can be made from polyester, polyethylene, or polypropylene. The secret lies in their superfine mesh construction, meticulously woven to ensure that mosquitoes can’t penetrate through the gaps. The mesh is designed to be small enough to block even the tiniest mosquitoes’ entry.

How to use them: They are usually hung over beds and cribs. They keep us safe while we sleep because many mosquitoes, like the Anopheles mosquito, are most active at dusk and dawn. By sleeping under a mosquito net, we can rest peacefully without worrying about getting bitten. 

Pro Tip: It’s crucial to ensure the mosquito net remains intact and free from any holes. Mosquitoes are masters of sneaking through the smallest gaps, so a pristine net is your best defense. Remember, a tiny hole is all they need to find their way inside.

Warning: The mosquito proboscis, the mouthpart they use to bite, can penetrate the net. Therefore, avoiding direct contact with the net while sleeping is advisable. Maintain a safe distance to prevent any accidental bites through the mesh.

When Should I Use Mosquito Nets?

baby mattress under a mosquito net
Photo Credit: hanamirae / Canva Pro / License

Here are a few tips on when to use mosquito nets:

  • When there are no windows or door screens in your home: Using a mosquito net becomes essential to protect yourself and your family when there aren’t other physical barriers.
  • In the absence of air conditioning: Mosquitoes are more active in warm and humid environments. If you don’t have air conditioning to cool down your living spaces, using a mosquito net can provide relief and prevent mosquito bites.
  • During late spring to early fall: Mosquito activity tends to increase during these seasons, making it crucial to use mosquito nets, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • When traveling to tropical overseas: Tropical regions often harbor mosquito-borne diseases. If you’re visiting areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, using a mosquito net becomes a vital precaution to protect yourself from bites and potential infections.

Warning: Mosquitoes are naturally attracted to pregnant women due to the changes in their respiratory system, which result in higher carbon dioxide levels, as well as slightly elevated body temperature. To safeguard the mother and the baby from mosquito-borne diseases, it is advisable to use a mosquito net, especially if you live in areas prone to such diseases. 

Why Mosquito Nets are Important

Mosquito nets serve a purpose far beyond protecting us from itchy mosquito bites. They play a critical role in preventing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Let’s explore why:

  1. When a mosquito bites an infected individual, it ingests the disease-causing pathogens present in their blood.
  1. These pathogens then multiply within the mosquito’s body
  1. Once the mosquito moves on to bite another person, it injects the pathogens into their bloodstream, potentially infecting them with the same disease.
  1. By creating a physical barrier, mosquito nets prevent mosquitoes from reaching our skin, interrupting their ability to transmit diseases.

The most common mosquito-borne diseases in the United States include:

  • West Nile Virus
  • Malaria
  • Encephalitis
  • Dengue fever
  • Zika

How to Choose a Mosquito Net

When selecting a mosquito net, making an informed decision is important to ensure maximum effectiveness. Consider the following factors when choosing the perfect mosquito net:

  • Hole Density: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends selecting a mosquito net with a minimum of 156 holes per square inch. This fine mesh structure ensures that mosquitoes are unable to penetrate through the netting.
  • Adequate Size: Opt for a mosquito net that is large enough to adequately cover your sleeping area. The net should be generously sized for proper tucking under the mattress or sleeping surface. 
  • Material and Durability: Look for mosquito nets made from high-quality materials resistant to wear and tear. Consider nets made from durable and lightweight materials, such as polyester.
  • Treated nets:  Consider mosquito nets treated with permethrin, an insecticide that effectively kills mosquitoes on contact. These are also called insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) or long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), and they are more effective than untreated nets.

Types of Mosquito Nets

mosquito net above a bed
Photo Credit: missy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A wide array of options are available to cater to different needs and preferences. Finding the right type is key whether you’re looking for a net to use at home or as a tool to prevent mosquito bites while traveling

Let’s explore some of the most common types of mosquito bed nets:

Self-Supporting Nets

Self-supporting or freestanding mosquito nets offer an easy and flexible way to keep mosquitoes away. These nets resemble tents and use lightweight aluminum poles to support the netting. You can set them up without frames, hooks, or pins, both indoors and outdoors. 

They also have a base to prevent crawling insects from getting in. While they may be bulkier, heavier, and cost a bit more, self-supporting nets provide convenient and reliable protection. 

Pop-Up Nets

Pop-up mosquito nets are the epitome of convenience, especially for campers and backpackers. With their clever design, these nets are incredibly easy to assemble. Simply take them out of the bag, and they spring into shape, ready to provide instant protection against mosquitoes.

They weigh about 2 pounds and are available in different sizes.

Wedge Mosquito Nets

The wedge style is a popular and budget-friendly choice. These nets get their name from their wedge-shaped design, resembling a doorstop. One of the key advantages of wedge nets is their compact size, making them easy to pack and carry with you on your adventures.

The smaller size of these nets provides more space over your head, allowing for a comfortable sleeping experience, while the lower-end drapes over your bedding. However, this lack of space in the lower end might cause the net to touch your feet, which can give an opportunity for mosquitoes to bite.

Ridge Mosquito Nets

Ridge mosquito nets are a variation of the wedge net design, offering enhanced comfort and space. Ridge nets have a triangular shape but with a ridge-like formation, providing more headroom and eliminating the issue of the net touching your feet. These nets typically require two hanging points, allowing for easy installation.

While ridge nets provide more room compared to wedge nets, it’s important to note that they can still feel somewhat cramped inside.

Bell Mosquito Nets

bell shaped mosquito net
Photo Credit: somkcr / Canva Pro / License

If you’re looking to create a charming and whimsical atmosphere in your bedroom, the bell mosquito net might be just what you need. As its name suggests, this net gracefully drapes over your bed, forming a bell-like shape. With a single high suspension point, setting up a bell net requires minimal effort.

One distinctive feature of bell nets is their heavier fabric along the lower edge. This protects the mesh from damage and allows easy tucking under the mattress, ensuring a secure and snug fit. Due to the generous amount of fabric required, bell nets can be bulkier than other types.

Box Nets

Box mosquito nets are an excellent choice for those seeking the ultimate in comfort and a generous sleeping space. Mimicking the shape of your bed, these rectangular nets provide ample room to stretch out and enjoy unrestricted movement during sleep.

It’s essential to know that their installation can be a bit more involved than other net types. Typically, these nets require suspension from at least four points or more to ensure stability and proper support. This may require a little more effort and time during setup.

Mosquito Prevention: Do’s and Don’ts

Preventing mosquito bites is crucial for our well-being, and implementing effective strategies is critical. In this section, we will explore mosquito prevention Do’s and Don’ts, from mosquito netting to other essential tips.


  • Do hang the mosquito net correctly
  • Do use mosquito nets over strollers and cribs
  • Do buy insecticide-treated mosquito nets
  • Do regularly drain standing water in your yard
  • Do dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside (insect-repellent clothing is another option)
  • Do apply mosquito repellents containing DEET


  • Don’t use mosquito nets for playing, over food, or for fishing
  • Don’t use mosquito nets near candles, cigarettes, or open fires
  • Don’t sleep directly against the net
  • Don’t use outdoor chemicals indoors
  • Don’t use pesticides without reading the instructions
  • Don’t use larvicides on drinking water

FAQ About Mosquito Nets

Can Mosquitoes Go Through Mosquito Nets?

Mosquitoes cannot go through mosquito nets as the fine mesh acts as a barrier, preventing them from physically reaching you. However, it’s important to be aware that if you are sleeping or resting in direct contact with the net, mosquitoes can still bite you through their proboscis. 

What are the Disadvantages of a Mosquito Net?

While mosquito nets provide valuable protection against mosquitoes, it’s important to consider a few potential drawbacks:

Depending on the type and fabric, some mosquito nets can be bulky and heavy, making them less suitable for lightweight travel or backpacking.
Setting up certain mosquito nets can be challenging, requiring time and effort to find suitable attachment points and navigate the setup process.
Low-quality or delicate nets may be prone to damage, such as tears or holes, compromising their effectiveness and allowing mosquitoes to enter.
Some nets can restrict airflow and limit visibility, creating a slightly enclosed feeling that may not be comfortable for everyone.

How to Prevent Mosquito Bites?

To prevent mosquito bites, there are several effective strategies you can employ:

Apply EPA-registered insect repellents containing ingredients like DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) to exposed skin and permethrin to clothing.
Opt for loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to minimize exposed skin.
Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, so take extra precautions during these periods.
Eliminate stagnant water sources in and around your surroundings, as they serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
When sleeping outdoors or in areas with high mosquito activity, utilize mosquito nets to create a physical barrier.
Ensure windows and doors have proper screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering indoor spaces.
Stay in well-ventilated areas.

Call a Pro

If you find that even with an insecticide-treated mosquito net, you still require additional protection, especially during the day, it may be time to seek the assistance of an expert. 

Pest Gnome connects you to the best pest control experts in your area. Their expertise can help you implement strategies to minimize mosquito populations and create a more comfortable and mosquito-free environment. 

Main Image Credit: kievith / Canva Pro / License

Maria Isabela Reis

Maria Isabela Reis is a writer, Ph.D. candidate, and plant enthusiast from an area where mosquitoes are as relentless in their pursuit of blood as she is in her quest for knowledge. When she’s not swatting away these buzzing annoyances, she’s playing with her dogs and savoring a cup of tea.