- The Mosquito Chronicles A Summer Primer
The Mosquito Chronicles A Summer Primer
The Mosquito Chronicles - A Summer Primer
Mosquitoes are attracted to heat, light, and two chemicals we humans produce - carbon dioxide and lactic acid. There are over 1,700 species of mosquito in North America. Only females bite. Mosquitoes are born in standing water and rarely travel more than 300 feet from their place of birth. Males live a week, females two. No one thinks mosquitoes are cute. Here are the mosquito basics:
Make your yard a hard place for mosquitoes to thrive.
- Get rid of standing water around your house - mosquitoes might breed there.
- Dispose of any unused outside water containers and drill holes in the bottom of containers that are left outdoors. Turn over plastic wading pools or wheelbarrows when not in use, and do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths.
- Clean clogged roof gutters regularly.
- Ventilate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not in use.
- If you have livestock, thoroughly clean their troughs every month.
Avoid Prime Mosquito Hours
Avoid the outdoors at dusk, in the early evening or at dawn when mosquitoes are heaviest. If you are outdoors during those times, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Buzz Off clothing, sold under various brand names, may help in heavily infested areas. Bear in mind that mosquitoes can bite through thin cloth.
Choose Your Repellent
There are two classes of repellent; natural and chemical. Natural products use active repellents such as soy bean oil, essential plant oils and neem while chemical repellents use DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide).
Natural repellents offer important safety benefits and are extremely effective. However, some natural products must be applied to the skin more frequently than DEET repellents. One of the few exceptions is Buzz Away Extreme. This compares favorably with repellents containing up to 20% DEET. Buzz Away Extreme is made with soy bean and geranium oil, and is the nation’s best selling natural repellent.
While most people use DEET-based products without incident, DEET negatives include cautions against its use on children under 3 years old from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Why? DEET enters the bloodstream through the skin (and can even pierce fabrics) and children seem especially susceptible to DEET related problems. Some have suffered side-effects ranging from rashes and hives to uncontrollable twitching and muscle spasms. DEET must be kept away from certain materials used in rain or camping gear or even watch faces, because it can destroy those materials.
Powered machines or devices run on electricity or propane and emit carbon dioxide to attract the bugs then trap and kill them. These range from $200 to $1,300. The best may be the Mosquito Magnet.
Citronella candles work well but should be kept close by - great for use on your picnic table or small patio.
Avoid ultra sonic units, wrist bands or taking vitamin B - these are not considered effective.