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Mosquitoes thrive after wet spring

 

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Summer is a beloved time of year that's often dominated by time spent outdoors soaking up summer sun. But all that extra time outdoors can make people vulnerable to mosquitoes. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, mosquitoes are more than just hungry, unwanted backyard guests.

In fact, mosquito-borne diseases, including the Zika virus, the West Nile virus and dengue, pose significant threats. While not all mosquitoes carry disease, even those that don't can still bite humans, leaving them to deal with discomfort and itchiness.

CONTROLLING MOSQUITOES

Taking measures to control mosquitoes outside your home can reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

Remove places where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs. Mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in standing water. Once a week during summer and other times of the year when mosquitoes might be buzzing around, walk around your property to remove standing water. Bird baths, flower pots, kids' toys, pools, old tires and trash containers are some of the more common places where water can collect and present perfect places for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Turn these over to empty any standing water you find. Remove empty flower pots and old tires from the property, and make sure water storage containers are tightly covered at all times.

Address areas where mosquitoes like to rest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that mosquitoes like to rest in dark, humid areas. This includes car ports, garages and beneath patio furniture. Outdoor insecticides can prevent mosquitoes from resting in such areas. When inside a home, mosquitoes may be resting under a sink, in closets, beneath the furniture or in a laundry room. Indoor insect sprays and indoor insect foggers work quickly and can be highly effective, but reapplication might be necessary, as they won't prevent more mosquitoes from entering the home at a later time.

Check your window screens. Mosquitoes might prefer the outside, but that doesn't mean they won't enter a home looking for meals if given the opportunity. Inspect window screens to look for holes that may provide mosquitoes with access to your home's interior, replacing any damaged screens immediately. When leaving or entering a home, make a concerted effort to close doors as quickly as possible.

SHOP LOCAL

Several local businesses offer spray, candles and other methods to help repel mosquitoes.

At Trout Creek Quik Stop, we found Citronella Mosquito Repellent Sticks. They work like punk sticks for fireworks. You light the stick and blow out the flame. The sticks continue to burn and help repel mosquiotes. For $5 we got a package of five sticks and placed them around the deck. They definitely helped, much like citronella candles.

Several hardware stores offer sprays that can be used alone or connected to a hose. While we were a little concerned with how it would affect pets, several readers said the spray worked for them and that it was safe for pets once the spray dried on the ground.

If you're out and about and don't want to spray yourself, there are other options. Mountain West Clothing offers Insect Shield repellent scarves. According to Insect Shield's website, the company "binds a proprietary permethrin formula tightly to fabric fibers - resulting in effective, odorless insect protection that lasts the expected lifetime of apparel." Permethrin is used in products such as lice shampoo and is approved by the EPA. The scarves come in a variety of fashionable colors and are 25% off through the summer at Moutain West Clothing.

Courtesy Photo

Mountain West Clothing in Plains sells Insect Shield repellent scarves (above), which help with mosquitoes, ticks and other insects. We also found citronella sticks (below at Trout Creek Quik Stop.

Many people turn to essential oils to help repel mosquitoes. We tried lavender oil dabbed on our ankles and wrists during a recent golf outing, and that did seem to help. Recipes we found online use a mix of citronella, lavender and lemongrass oils to keep the bugs away.

BITE RELIEF

Preventive measures cane help repel mosquitoes, but relieving the itch after a bite is another challenge. We tried recommendations from several residents.

One residents suggested using Vick's Vaporub on mosquito bites. The menthol did provide some relief. The CDC also recommends applying a paste of baking soda and water to the bite area, leaving it for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Part of summer in areas where you get all the seasons of precipitation, heat, wind and other weather means dealing with the good and the bad, including mosquitoes.

What are your best tips for repelling mosquitoes or treating bites? Email us at [email protected]

 

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