One of the annoyances of outdoor activity – which seems to increase in the summer when people want to enjoy recreation – mosquitoes are an irritation at best and at worst, their bite can make you sick.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help make sure that these pesky bugs don’t ruin your ability to have a good time.
Because of the threat of the West Nile and Zika viruses, mosquito bites throughout the Brazos River basin and much of the South are more problematic than they were decades ago. To help combat the problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people take the following steps at their homes:
Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, toys, kiddie pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers and trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
Make sure you tightly cover storage containers left outdoors so that mosquitoes cannot get inside them and lay eggs.
Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that you will not use for drinking water and that are too large to cover or dump out.
Make sure you repair any gaps or cracks in septic tanks. Cover open vents or plumbing pipes.
Outside your home, you can use an insect spray to kill mosquitoes where they rest – in dark, humid areas. Mosquitoes prefer to rest in places such as under patio furniture or under carports. To keep mosquitoes out of your home, install or repair window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open. Use air conditioning whenever possible.
If you have mosquitoes inside your home, you can use an indoor fogger or spray. Be sure to spray areas such as under sinks, in closets, under furniture and in laundry rooms where mosquitoes like to rest.
When you go outside, use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved insect repellent to keep mosquitoes away. The CDC notes that when they are used as directed, the EPA-registered insect repellents are effective as well as safe, even for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Approved items contain DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-methane-diol (PMD), and 2-undecanone. Always follow instructions on the label when applying insect repellent. Reapply as directed. Do not spray on the skin underneath clothing. If you are using sunscreen, apply that first and use insect repellent second.
For babies and children, do not use on infants less than 2 months old. Do not apply repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth or areas of skin that have been cut or irritated. Adults can spray repellent on their hands and then apply it gently to a child’s face. Do not use repellents containing OLE or PMD on children younger than 3 years old. You can provide added protection for your child by dressing them in clothing that covers arms and legs. You should cover outside cribs, strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
Detailed information about insect repellents can be found here.
Those who are continually in areas that are filled with mosquitoes have an option of purchasing pretreated clothing to repel insects. More information can be found here.