As long as there have been people in North America, there have been mosquitos. So the annoying and potentially dangerous pests probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But we can protect ourselves from them by following “3 D’s of protection” recommended by the American Mosquito Control Association.
Try to wear long pants and long sleeves outdoors when practical, especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquitos are most prevalent. Also wear light colors and avoid tight clothes with a loose weave, which mosquitos can bite through.
Mosquito larvae float atop still water to grow and hatch, so the key to prevention is eliminating standing water around your house and in your yard. Items that encourage water collection include roof gutters, pet water dishes, children’s toys, bird baths, pool covers, and tarps.
Three mosquito repellants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency are generally safe and effective — DEET, Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Keep the following tips in mind when using repellants:
- Spray on exposed skin, not clothing.
- Apply sparingly and reapply as needed. (Saturation doesn’t increase effectiveness.)
- Keep away from eyes, nostrils and lips.
- Minimize use if pregnant or nursing.
Tip: Turn on a fan. Any wind speed of more than 1 mph disrupts mosquito flight, and they will avoid the area.