Avoid the Bite

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Temperatures are beginning to warm up outside and with that comes our favorite love to hate, outdoor pest, the mosquito. Mosquitoes not only leave us with itchy red bumps when we are bitten, but they can also spread several diseases to humans. The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus can spread Zika; these mosquitoes are primarily daytime bitters. The Culex species can spread West Nile; these mosquitoes bite primarily at night, swarming at dusk.

It’s important to control mosquitoes around your home using these suggested methods.

Control mosquitoes outside your home

• Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs
• Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
• Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
• For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
• Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
• If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.

Kill mosquitoes outside your home

• Use an outdoor insect spray made to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest.
• Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.

Control mosquitoes inside your home

Keep mosquitoes out!
• Install or repair and use window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open.
• Use air conditioning when possible.

If you are going to be spending time outdoors, particularly at dusk, wear long sleeves and pant, and look for a mosquito repellant that contains one of these active ingredients:
• DEET: Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, Ultrathon
• Picaridin: Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus
• Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) or Para-menthane-diol (PMD): Repel
• IR3535: Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition, SkinSmart

When using insect repellent on children, please remember these important facts and tips:
• Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than two months old. Instead, dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
• Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or Para-menthane-diol on children under three years old.
• Do not put insect repellent on a child’s hands, eyes, mouth or cut or irritated skin.
• Adults: spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

Learn more about mosquitos and Zika prevention at
www. cdc.gov. •

[Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Louisiana Department of Health]