Protect yourself from mosquitoes this summer
The media has been abuzz about the impending invasion of gallinippers, a quarter sized and unusually aggressive mosquito. Mosquitoes can be extremely annoying, but in addition to the itching and inflammation of their bite, mosquitoes carry diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), West Nile encephalitis, dog heartworm, and many others. Protecting yourself and your family from these pests isn’t just about comfort; it’s about protecting them from disease. But now that we know these giant mosquitoes are coming to town, what are we supposed to do about it?
Your first priority should be preventing mosquitoes from breeding around your home. To do this, empty standing water from flower pots, bromeliads, buckets and barrels; change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly; drill holes in tire swings so water drains out; and keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used. If remembering to drain or replace water is difficult, you can also make a solution of one cup dish soap mixed with one gallon of water and pour into places with standing water. This solution is environmentally sensitive but potent enough to inhibit the development of eggs.
When you know you will be outside in an environment that harbors mosquitoes, make sure you take measures to protect yourself. Be sure to wear long sleeves and pants if possible and to use an effective mosquito repellent. An effective mosquito repellent should have 15-30% deet in it. According to Consumer Reports, the top 3 most effective repellents are Off Deep Woods Sportmen II (30% deet), Cutter Backwoods Unscented (23% deet), and Off Family Care Smooth & Dry (15% deet). It is also important to avoid sunscreens with insect repellent in them because sunscreens are intended to be reapplied, and if these products are reapplied too many times you can build up unnecessary high levels of repellent on your body.
If your efforts at preventing and repelling mosquitoes are not enough, then you should consider hiring a pest control professional. There are several measures that a professional pest control provider can take to help eliminate mosquitoes. If your home has a considerable amount of landscaping, mosquitoes may be taking refuge in your plants during the day.
Mosquitoes love dark, moist places to spend their days, and inside a nice hedge is just the right place. A foliar spray for mosquitoes will eliminate this hiding place for them. If you have a small pond with fish in it, mosquitoes may be laying their eggs in this water. A professional will be able to treat the water with an insect regulator that is safe for fish. Lastly, some pest control companies offer Mosquito Eliminators, which are devices similar to a fly light. The Mosquito Eliminator has a light to attract the mosquitoes with a sticky strip inside to trap them. Mosquito Eliminators are discreet and unlike traditional mosquito lights, it does not “zap” or make any ominous noises.