After a particularly wet winter and spring in California, mosquito season has arrived. National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 26–July 1, is an ideal time to take preventative measures that will help you fight the bite of mosquitoes this summer.
The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) emphasizes the “3 D’s” of protection from mosquitoes—drain, dress, and defend.
Drain. Because mosquitoes can lay eggs in a source of water as small as a bottle cap, it’s important to empty all sources of standing water around the home such as flower pots, old tires, children’s toys, and buckets and storage containers. AMCA also recommends drilling holes in the bottom of recycling containers and changing water regularly in pet dishes and bird baths.
“Don’t forget that your rain gutters, tree holes, old buckets or tires—they all make excellent spots for mosquitoes to lay their eggs,” said Joseph Conlon, a technical advisor for AMCA. “Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. If their water source is eliminated, so are their offspring.”
Dress. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing is best to prevent mosquito bites. Studies have shown many species of mosquitoes are more attracted to dark clothing, according to AMCA, and often they are able to bite through tight clothing. Whenever practical, long sleeves and pants are best.
Defend. The Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California recommends applying insect repellent containing Environmental Protection Agency-registered active ingredients such as DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 according to label instructions. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
To cut down on mosquitoes in animal water troughs or ponds, stocking mosquitofish is recommended. Many local vector control agencies will provide mosquitofish to homeowners free of charge.
Fewer mosquito bites and less annoying buzzing will help consumers get the most enjoyment out of summer outdoor activities.