Protect Yourself from MosquitosJun 21, 2017
No one likes to get bit by mosquitos – even more so because of the infections and viruses that they carry. We’ve all heard of Zika virus this year, as well as chikungunya and dengue viruses – all of which are primarily spread through the bite of the Aedes species mosquito.
While no case of these viruses have been reported as being transmitted by local mosquitos, we still need to protect ourselves against these annoying creatures. Below, we provide you with steps you can take to avoid getting bites.
Aedes mosquitos prefer to live near and bite people. They can live and reproduce both inside and outside of the home, and can also be found in buildings and businesses where window and door screens are damaged or propped open. Though they typically only fly a few blocks during their lifetime, females can lay up to 100 eggs at a time. Those eggs can survive for up to eight months without drying out – even over the winter in southern states.
Controlling the mosquito population is the first step toward bite prevention. You can identify and eliminate breeding areas through environmental sanitation, such as:
- Remove non-essential or disposable containers (food and beverage containers, tires, broken appliances)
- Remove or drain standing water from useful containers (water-storage vessels, potted plants and trivets, animal drinking pans, paint trays, toys, pails, septic tanks)
- Review and drain cavities in structures (fence poles, bricks, roof gutters, air-conditioner trays)
- Review, drain or treat outdoor underground structures (storm drains, water meters, public wells, septic tanks)
Once you’ve identified breeding areas, you can use larvicides to reduce/eliminate the ability for new mosquitos to enter the environment. To control adult mosquitos, you have several options, including:
- Utilize space-spraying tactics (backpacks, handheld equipment)
- Apply residual insecticides on surfaces and area barriers that adult mosquitos frequently visit:
- Walls, ceilings
- Discarded containers
- Hang scented sticky-glue tabs
- Use personal protection such as mosquito repellants with Deet.
Whether at work, or relaxing in your own backyard, you can protect yourself by:
- Treating clothing with products such as a Permethrin insect repellant
- Covering up exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks; in hot weather, pants and jackets made of insect netting can be worn
- Using gloves to protect your hands and arms
- Wearing a time release insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR3535
What to use
Consumer Reports suggests the following insect repellants for clothing and skin:
- Sawyer’s Fisherman’s Formula
- Repel Lemon Eucalyptus
- Repel Scented Family
- Natrapel 8-Hour
- Off Deepwoods VIII