Planning an outdoor barbecue this holiday weekend, or in the coming weeks?
Get ready for some unwelcome guests. The combination of rainy and warm weather we’ve had makes an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
How you keep up your surroundings, what you wear outdoors and prevention steps you take can help prevent bites that can lead to itchiness at best, and illness at worst.
“Over the last few years, the U.S. has had increased cases of mosquito-borne illnesses such as the West Nile Virus and other exotic diseases such as dengue fever and Chikungunya threaten our shores,” American Mosquito Control Association Technical Adviser Joe Conlon said in a news release.
The association includes information about mosquito control tips on its website, mosquito.org. Among them:
Remove stagnant water you have around your property at least once a week. Empty pots, tarps, tools and trash cans of any water that has collected, as they are all breeding grounds for mosquitoes. “Eliminating standing water is probably the most important thing to remember when preventing or controlling mosquito problems. … Even remember to irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days,” Conlon said.
If a mosquito problem exists, control adult mosquitoes through mosquito traps, space sprays and vegetation management. Keep windows, doors and porches tightly screened. Protect yourself by properly applying an approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
3. Dress right
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Studies have shown that some of the 174 mosquito species in the U.S. are more attracted to dark clothing and can readily bite through tight-fitting clothing of loose weave. When practical, wear long sleeves and pants.
4. Other things to know
Bigger people are often more attractive to mosquitoes because they are larger targets and produce more mosquito attractants, namely CO2 and lactic acid. Active or fidgety people also produce more of those. Smelly feet are attractive to certain species of mosquitoes – as is Limburger cheese. A full moon can increase mosquito activity 500 percent, too, according to one study.