Are you a Mosquito Magnet? How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Are you a Mosquito Magnet? How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

If you draw mosquitoes to you like flies to sugar, then you may be the owner of factors that can contribute to being a mosquito’s focus during the fading hours of daylight. In one controlled study by the Journal of Medical Entomology, the bugs landed on people with blood type O nearly twice as frequently as those with Type A. This has to do with the secretions the body produces, which alerts mosquitoes to a person’s blood type. This factor certainly doesn’t help to prevent mosquito bites.

Cues like blood type make a mosquito more likely to land on certain people. It tells the critters that they are going to a blood source.  Another cue is CO2 – carbon dioxide. The amount of CO2 you produce increases the amount of CO2 you give off … the more you give off, the more attractive you are.

People with high metabolic rates tend to produce more CO2. Lactic acid, which causes our muscles to cramp during exercise is another cue.  Lactic acid is released through the skin, signaling to mosquitoes that you are a target.

The Better to See You, My Dear

Mosquitoes have excellent vision, but they fly close to the ground to stay out of the wind. They are able to contrast you with the horizon, so how you’re dressed matters. If you have on dark clothes, you are going to attract more because you’ll stand out from the horizon, whereas those wearing light colors won’t stand out as much, which will help prevent mosquito bites. Once a mosquito lands on you, it takes in tactile cues. Body heat is an important tactile cue.  Some people tend to have warmer skin and when a mosquito lands, it is looking for a place where blood is close to the skin. Those whose temperatures run a little higher are more likely to get bitten.

Mosquitoes and Alcohol: Drink Less to Prevent Mosquito Bites

If you are drinking alcohol, you are more attractive to mosquitoes. Just one can of beer increases your risk of being bitten. 

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Avoid mosquito peak activity times like sunrise and sunset.  Switch your early morning run to an after-work run or better still, a mid-day run.

Cover as much skin as you can when out at peak mosquito activity times. 

Use a repellent that has a good protection time – defined as the time from when you apply to when you get the first bite. A spray with 5% DEET gives you about 90 minutes of complete coverage.

DEET is a common ingredient in insect repellents, and sprays with DEET are probably the way to go if you know you’re at risk of bites. Despite the controversy over the health effects of DEET, a 2014 review by the Environmental Protection Agency re-concluded that normal use of DEET products does not pose a risk to one’s health, including children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women.

Citronella candles can be useful but there is no research to support the idea that they keep mosquitoes away. Instead, keeping a fan on outside in the sitting area can be an effective deterrent.

Oh! The Itch!

If you do get bitten, you may be one of those who react badly to the chemicals in the saliva of the mosquito. Don’t scratch!  More histamine will be released and the bite gets even itchier. Put an ice cube on the areas or use an over-the-counter anti-itch cream with a mild topical steroid like hydrocortisone. If you are really in distress, an antihistamine like Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Allegra may give you relief.

If you get the itch to move this summer or fall, call the Relocation Specialists at Ayer Moving and Storage at (800) 233-6683 or email.

Decluttering Before a Move

Decluttering Before a Move

If you are planning a move, you need to “bite the bullet” sooner rather than later to purge your unwanted, unworn, unused, and unloved belongings, to assist in decluttering before a move.

This exercise is absolutely necessary to save you time and money when you do move. It’s easy to see why: the more stuff you move, the more it costs to move it. The bonus can be that you can recoup some money with a yard or estate sale.

Getting Motivated to Declutter

Decluttering is a task best approached in small steps.  It can be emotional and overwhelming – especially if you are decluttering a home that you’ve lived in for many years.  People often say they have a feeling of freedom when they have decluttered … they are no longer bogged down by material things they have no more use for.

Start Decluttering Before a Move Now.

Begin the process early. You don’t even have to wait to plan a move. It is a good idea to purge often to stay in control. Beginning early – three, six, or even twelve months before you move – makes the process less  stressful  and more enjoyable.

Where do you begin?

Start with the rooms you use the lease. Do you have a spare bedroom or a recreation room that isn’t being used much? A basement or attic that needs lots of time to review? Start there.  You can not only dispose of the things you don’t want, you can begin to pack up the things you want to take with you. Don’t start with memorabilia, though. Save that for when you’ve had a bit of practice decluttering so you can move through it more efficiently.

Make Six Piles for Decluttering.

Separate your sorted items into different piles:

  1. Number One is for the items you want to KEEP and MOVE.
  2. The second pile is for the things to plan to offer to FAMILY members;
  3. the third is the one for DONATIONS.
  4. You may have some items that you feel have monetary value, so these are the ones that you might SELL.
  5. Put the YARD SALE items in another pile… the SELL pile is for more valuable items.
  6. The last pile is for items that will be TRASH.

There are also other creative ways to help you with decluttering before a move. Find out what works best for you!

The Closets

We all have items in our closets that no longer fit (I just need to lose 5 lbs. and I can wear that!) or clothing that we loved but really has gone out of style. Purge these first.  Be sure the clothing you plan to MOVE will actually fit in the closet space in your new home.

Trips Down Memory Lane

It is unavoidable to not walk down memory lane while decluttering before a move.  It’s OK to go through things and remember where and when. But bring yourself back to the present so that you can achieve your timeline goals. Set a timer for an hour and when it goes off.  Close the box and move on.

Get the Kids Involved

Moving can be traumatic to children. Involve them in the process of decluttering before a move, so they feel a sense of ownership. Let them help you and then give them age-appropriate responsibilities for decluttering their belongings. Once they have made piles, you can review to give the final approval. Letting them decide on toys or games they no longer play with that can be donated to the less fortunate is a special lesson they learn during this process. You can work side-by-side with younger children to help them decide in which pile each item should go.

Put it on Your Calendar.

Schedule a dedicated time each week for decluttering before a move. One to three hours of purging time will help you move the process to completion more efficiently. Not scheduling is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, as procrastination creeps in and it is easy to get distracted away to another task. Turn off the phone; no TV; no visitors… just a period of dedicated decluttering. You’ll be surprised at the progress you make!

Rent a Portable Moving and Storage Container.

As you are decluttering these units can be very helpful to store packed boxes or furniture in rooms you aren’t using. If you are staging your home for sale, a portable storage container is invaluable. The unit can stay in your driveway until you are ready to move.

Go Through Everything.

Decluttering can be a long process. It is important to go through everything … every closet ; cabinet or dresser drawer; storage bin; closet. Take everything out and assess every item of clothing, kitchen gadget, appliance, and tool. Better to do it now then to move it and just toss it later.

Change is difficult, but it can be exciting. Take it one step-at-a- time and you’ll be ready for your move when the time comes.

Download our helpful Moving and Packing guides and if you have questions about your upcoming move, call Ayer Moving and Storage at (800) 233-6683 or email one of their Relocation Specialists.

Top Ten Reasons for Moving

Top Ten Reasons for Moving

“Being the owner of a moving and storage company and a NorthAmerican Van Lines Agent that had its start in 1951, I’ve heard a lot of reasons why people move from one location to another,” said Karen Strickland, President of Ayer Moving and Storage.

Some reasons for moving are because parents may need to uproot their families because of a new job. Others need a larger home or desire a better neighborhood. In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, between 2012 and 2013, about 36 million Americans moved to a new home.

Traditionally, the average American will move about 11 times in their lifetime. What are the reasons for moving that often? Why would someone choose to move that many times? Here is a list of the top 10 reasons:

To change jobs and relocate to a new area

Many people move every few years due to a change in employment – the industry, position, or type of company.  Some may have been transferred by their employer to another corporate location.

To seek out a new school district

Those with school-age children may seek out a new or different school district, which is an important deciding factor when selecting a new home.

Needing more or less space

When the family grows or the number of square feet in the home no longer meets the homeowners needs, it may be time to move. If the children have grown and moved away, it may be time to downsize to a smaller home or condo or apartment.

A change of scenery

Perhaps the home, itself, is fine, but the homeowners want to change where they live. It may be that they no longer want to experience the long, cold winters. Or the summer heat has become unbearable.  Others may want to be closer to shopping, public transportation, entertainment venues, or beaches.

A change in lifestyle or relationships

A marriage, divorce, remarriage, illness, or death may necessitate a move to another home. If a loved one needs caregiving, a move to a relative’s home or to a senior living community may be required.

A change from renter to home buyer (or vice-versa)

Some people who have been renting are ready to purchase a home. Others who have been homeowners are ready to scale back and leave maintenance and lawn care behind.

A change from the city to the suburbs (or vice-versa)

City apartment dwellers may want to live in a home in the suburbs with a backyard in a quiet neighborhood with less traffic and congestion.  Others may be looking for nearby shopping, theaters, restaurants, pubs, and the nightlife typical of life in the city.

To benefit from the equity in the current home

Today real estate prices are high and many decide to move in order to sell at a high price and cash in on the built-up equity in the home. They may use this equity to buy in an area with a lower cost-of-living or purchase a less expensive condo.

Changes in Migration

In late 2020, research showed that Americans were moving at the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began tracking mobility and migration in 1947. There were a variety of reasons for this slowing … from the population aging to younger people not moving because of the high cost of living and starting families later than prior generations.

Because of financial challenges

When job loss, furloughs, or other financial challenges occur, homeowners, rather than falling behind on payments or risk foreclosure, may sell their homes and relocate to smaller, more affordable homes.

The impact of CoVID-19

 According to a July 2020 Pew Research study,  20% of the adults in the US said they moved, had someone move in with them, or knew someone who moved as a result of the Pandemic. The reasons were:

They were no longer able to afford their rent or mortgage payments.
They felt unsafe in their city or town.
Their college and/or college housing closed.
They lost their jobs.
Financially-independent individuals moved from densely-populated cities into suburbs and countryside.

No matter the reasons for moving, it is clear that Americans continue to be “on the move.” If you have questions about your upcoming move, call Ayer Moving and Storage at (800) 233-6683 or email one of their Relocation Specialists.

Successful Move Hacks

Successful Move Hacks

It’s a known fact that moving is one of the most stressful events in life. According to Verified Movers, the average American family moves 11 times in their lifetime!  Whether your family is below or above that average, these successful move hacks will help you reduce the stress the next time you move.

Getting Prepared for a Successful Move

Start early. Don’t wait for the last few weeks prior to moving day to do what needs to be done.

Set a moving budget and seek out movers to compare services and scheduling.

Take advantage of an online moving cost calculator ( which will give you a heads-up for what to expect in cost.

Call your utility companies to advise them of your moving date. Get this out of the way so you won’t forget to do it later!

Plan the packing supplies you will need, including specialty boxes for mattresses, framed artwork, electronic devices, and tableware.

Getting Decluttered for a Successful Move

Organize your belongings in three categories: What to move, what to offer to other family members or sell, what to donate to charity, and what to toss.

  • Start with the closets. Don’t take it with you if it is out of style, doesn’t fit, or you haven’t worn it in a year.
  • Ask yourself if you would buy an item again. If not, you don’t need to move it.
  • Call charities to make donation pick up arrangements.
  • Consider short-term storage to stage your home for sale or to hold items you are not yet sure you want to move.

Getting Packed

The most time-consuming part of the moving process is the actual packing. You may want to consider hiring the mover to pack things safely and securely for you or you may want to divide the task with them to save money. In either case, follow these time saving tips when packing:

Don’t empty dresser drawers.

You can leave your decluttered drawers in the dresser if they are not too heavy. If weight is an issue, take the drawer out and wrap it in shipping plastic wrap.

Leaving hanging clothes on hangers.

Obtain wardrobe boxes from your mover so you can easily rehang your clothes from box to closet when you reach your new home.

Use linens and towels as packing materials.

Wrap fragile items in paper or bubble wrap and cushion them with sheets or towels. Wrap linens around hard to wrap items, like lamps and vases.

Use pots.

Save space by filling large pots and other sealable containers with small kitchen items, like spice jars and gadgets.

Prevent spills.

Wrap a small piece of plastic wrap to secure the lids of lotions, liquid soap, shampoo … or put them in a plastic zip lock bag.

Pack suitcases.

Useful for packing items that may not easily be transported in boxes, suitcases with wheels can be used for books or large serving dishes.

Color code boxes with stickers, one color designated for each room.

It’s also helpful to tape a list to the box, indicating what’s inside, so you don’t have to open multiple boxes when hunting for something. A photo of the inside contents is also helpful for a general idea of what’s inside.

Take helpful photos.

Take a picture of the back of your TV or the connections for any electronic device. While still plugged in, a photo can show which cable goes where so you’ll remember how to set it up in your new home.

A Necessary Bag is necessary.

Pack a small bag with the items you’ll need to access during the move and immediately upon arrival at your new place: important documents, medications, jewelry, basic toiletries, a change of clothes, and a favorite toy for each of the kids. Take this bag with you.

The goal is to be fully packed the day before the move. When the movers arrive, you want to be free to focus on overseeing the loading process, not scurrying around with last-minute packing.

Getting on the Road

Plan for the children and pets on moving day. Can they stay with friends or family to keep them entertained and safe? Arrange for them and for family pets to give you piece of mind where they are concerned.

Once ready to leave, have a few essentials for the road trip. Pack a cooler and stock it with water bottles and quick snacks.

Getting Unpacked from your Successful Move

The task of unpacking can seem overwhelming. You won’t procrastinate with these guidelines:

Start with the kitchen.

Getting the kitchen up and running is an accomplishment which allows you to focus on the easier to unpack rooms

The bedrooms are next.

Get the beds set up and made up so when you are ready for bed, the beds will be ready for you.

Establish a deadline.

Make a plan for unpacking each room by a certain date. Scheduling a house-warming party or a casual get-together gives you a goal for getting it done.

Recycle boxes immediately.

As soon as a box is emptied, break it down and recycle it or offer it to other soon-to-be-movers.

Play music while unpacking!

The TV can be a distraction, so opt for music to entertain yourself and the children while putting things in place.

Don’t stress over trying to get everything unpacked right away. Do what you can when you can and it will get done. Give the children tasks they can handle. Take breaks; order take-out food. Take time to enjoy your new home as it is taking shape.

Follow these moving hacks and you’ll make things easier on yourself and have less stress in the process.

If you have questions about making your next successful move, or what happens before, during, or after a move, call the Relocation Specialists at Ayer Moving and Storage at (800) 233-6683 or email.

Stress-Free Packing for a Move

Stress-Free Packing for a Move

Stress-free packing for a move is part science, part art … there are right ways and wrong ways to pack dishes, electronic devices, books, and artwork.  There are specialty boxes and packing materials recommended for this precise activity.  The order in which you pack is essential.

There is also an order to packing that can help make moving as stress-free as possible. Before you even begin to pack, you should take inventory of your belongings. Take a walk through your home with notebook and pen in hand. Bring a cup of coffee or your favorite drink with you. This can take time.

As you go through the inventory process, note the items you will NOT be taking with you. Whatever you no longer use, things that have been in the back of the closet for years, clothes that no longer fit, hobbies or sports you no longer participate in … these are all categories for the decluttering process. It is senseless (and costly) to pack and move items that you won’t be using in your new home.  Sort these unwanted items into four categories: give to family or friends, sell, donate, or trash. 

Clean and dust items before packing them so you don’t have to do this when unpacking … when you are most eager to set up your new home. Now onto packing.

What Comes First? Stress-Free Packing for a Move

Start with the least used room.

Perhaps this room is the garage, basement, attic, or spare bedroom. Determine which room in your home is the least used and begin the packing process there.

Pack items that are in storage.

Organize and pack the items you have in a storage room in your home. First check for items you may no longer need or want. Towels and sheets in your linen closet can be packed, except for one set of each to put in your “open me first” box. See below.

Pack the most difficult room.

While this room may be used often, like a children’s playroom, you don’t want to save it for last, as you may be all tired out by the time you get to it. You want to give it the attention it deserves and not rush the process just because it is the last one on your list. If it is the children’s playroom, don’t pack it up entirely; leave some of the favorite toys and games out and save a box for these items to pack just before moving day. If it is a bedroom, don’t pack all your clothing! Pack what you don’t think you’ll need until after the move and keep a box handy for last-minute bedroom items to pack just before the big day.

Pack out of season items.

If you’ve already tackled the attic or basement, then you may have gotten to the holiday décor. If there are items that are only used seasonally, pack them now as you won’t need them until you are in your new location.

Books, music, and décor come next.

Items hanging on the wall that are purely aesthetic can be packed early on in the process. Artwork, wall décor, and knick-knacks fall into this category. (See our blog on how to pack art.) Books, magazines, and music also are in this group … only be sure to go through them to toss or give away magazines already read. Do the same with no longer playable music tapes, CDs, video games, or DVDs. Unwanted books can be donated to your local library.  Moving books that you have read or will probably never read is expensive – they are heavy and your move expenses are based on weight! 

Shoes and Jewelry

Leave out the shoes and jewelry you most often wear and pack the rest. See our blog on how best to pack your shoes.


Begin packing the rest of the rooms, using the same process.  First pack those items that are non-essential, things not needed day to day. Then, pack the rest of the items, leaving out the absolute essential items you will need as soon as you get to your new home.

Stress-Free Packing for a Move: Packing Up Essential Items

If you’ve packed up most of your non-essential items, you can begin packing those items you will need as soon as you are at your new location and move in. 

Kitchen essentials

Not everything in your kitchen is needed every day. You can go without many things for a week or two. You can cook most meals using just one skillet, one pot, and a spatula.  Most of everything else can be packed now.

Keep your coffee maker on hand until the last day, but you can pack your air fryer, instant-pot, and waffle maker! Use disposable plates, bowls and plastic knives, forks, and spoons so that you can pack up your dishes and utensils now.

Pack up non-perishable food in your pantry that you won’t expire any time soon. Try to consume as much as possible between now and your move. Consider donating canned goods and other non-perishables to a local food pantry and pack up the remaining pantry items the last day before your move.

Office Supplies

Set aside everything you might need for personal, business, or school work between now and your move. Pack up any office supplies you have left. Important documents can be packed and taken with you.

Electronic devices and media players

When your move is just a few days away, pack these devices and be sure to document how everything is plugged in … what attached to where … take a photo with your camera or attach labels to the cords to give instructions when you are setting up the office at your new home. You also want to wrap everything securely for a safe journey. See our blog on how to pack electronic devices.

Toiletries and cleaning supplies

Set aside those things you use on a daily basis. Check expiration dates and toss those that are old, almost empty, or any you haven’t used in months. Pack these items in plastic zip-bags to prevent leakage. Pack your hairdryer and curling iron with them. Since this is one of the last boxes you will be packing, it should be readily accessible when you arrive in your new home.

At this point your move is probably about a week or less away, so you will need to prioritize these items in order of importance. But first … you’ll need to pack a box of items you’ll need right away in your new home.

“Open me first!” Box for Stress-Free Packing for a Move

An “open me first” box includes all of the items you might need during your first day/night in your new home. Packed in a box or suitcase, these items may include:

A change of clothes
Extra towels
Favorite electronic devices
Important documents
Expensive jewelry
Toilet paper
Hand soap
Paper towels and a cleaning spray for immediate use in your new home, if necessary

The essentials box includes what you decide you will need. A good idea is to pack it sooner rather than later, and be sure to label it and keep it open and easily accessible until you are going out the door for the last time. Take it with you in the car if you can, so that it is with you when you arrive at your new destination.

Packing in a logical order avoids the risk of packing everything at the last minute, which. only ensures that your things will be damaged or misplaced. Give yourself as much time as you need to complete the packing process to be ready when the moving van arrives!

If you have questions about packing for your upcoming move, call Ayer Moving and Storage at (800) 233-6683 or email one of their Relocation Specialists. Download our packing guide: Secrets from the Packing Professionals at Ayer Moving and Storage.

Five Reasons Why You Need a COW

Five Reasons Why You Need a COW

You can probably think of more, but here are five reasons why you need a COW – a storage Container on Wheels, that is. A COW provides a portable storage solution when you need to store or move belongings across town or across the country.

Five Reasons Why You Need a COW

1. COWs are Convenient

Five Reasons Why You Need a COW A Container on Wheels can be easily transported from one location to another. You can park one in your driveway or keep one in your backyard or in a commercial parking lot.

A COW can be delivered to your door and positioned where you need it. You can keep your COW for as long as you need it, with daily, weekly, or monthly rates available.

COWs can be unloaded and reloaded when you need to do so and can be hitched to a moving truck and hauled away. You can access the COW when you want without having to drive to a storage warehouse.


2. Short-Term Storage

A COW is a cost-efficient option for those who need extra storage for a fixed time   period. 

If you are selling your home, for example, you will want to “stage” it by removing clutter or excess furniture so that the home shows most favorably when the realtor brings in prospective buyers.

If you are beginning a remodeling project, a COW is ideal for storing furnishings while the project is on-going.

If you have a business or commercial enterprise, a COW can help store overflow inventory or excess materials during peak seasons.

Five Reasons Why You Need a COW

3. Peace of Mind

Your rented COW can be kept on your property and locked securely when you are not using it. COWs are durable and made of steel, secure from environmental or weather damage. They are safe against pests and animals, dirt and debris. They have polyurethane casters that won’t mark the driveway or property. In addition, storage units have translucent roofing to provide natural light for greater visibility.

4. Available Locally

All COWs are owned by local moving and storage companies. Ayer Moving and Storage has several COWs on the premises available for rental. As a COWs dealership, Ayer Moving is ready to assist in helping you design the perfect storage option.

5. Sized to Meet Your Needs

COWs come in 16-foot long units. They are 80-inches wide and 8 feet tall including the casters. They fit inside a standard parking space and can be placed on several different surfaces. This size is the ideal solution for many temporary storage situations. There are more reasons why you need a COW, but these are a good place to start!

If you have questions about renting a COW or any other storage solutions, call Ayer Moving and Storage at (800) 233-6683 or email one of their Relocation Specialists.

Ayer Moving and Storage Joins AMSA ProMovers

Ayer Moving and Storage Joins AMSA ProMovers

Ayer Moving and Storage is proud to announce that they have been designated a part of the AMSA ProMovers by the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). In December 2020, AMSA was absorbed by the American Trucking Association.

AMSA ProMovers is a certification program that assists consumers in locating reputable, professional movers, who have agreed to abide by high standards. ProMovers provide information and assistance with everything from finding a mover, getting an estimate, and helping consumers with packing tips and understanding the valuation and insurance practices.

Ayer Moving and Storage Joins AMSA ProMovers

AMSA ProMovers: Only those with high standards

The AMSA’s Code of Ethics stipulates that members “stand united in our sincere beliefs that honest, ethical, efficient, and quality services to the public are the ultimate goals of this organization.”

It is their goal to consistently offer and provide the most efficient and reliable moving and storage services available, while adhering strictly to a policy of truth, honesty, integrity, and fairness in all business transactions.

“The ProMover program promotes ethical principles and practices in the moving and storage industry and works to mitigate unethical practices by awarding the certification to those companies who have proven themselves, while at the same time separating professional movers from rogue operators masquerading as legitimate movers.” –

AMSA ProMovers must pass a rigorous review of professional business standards in order to quality as a ProMover.

Most importantly, this program offers consumers an identifiable means of separating reputable, professional movers from the rest. When you see the ProMover logo, you know that your moving company has been highly vetted.

Karen Strickland, president of Ayer Moving and Storage, said, “The ProMover seal represents nationally recognized, industry-wide standards of conduct for professional movers. We are proud to display the ProMover seal and to abide by their ethical and professional standards, and understand that the ProMover Certification Program is restricted to only those companies who exhibit the highest standards of performance, regulatory compliance, and customer service. We are honored to be among the best.”

If you need assistance with an upcoming move or have questions about what to do before, during, or after a move, call Ayer Moving and Storage at (800) 233-6683 or email our Relocation Specialists.