Wednesday, August 11, 2010

{Dog Days of Summer} Mosquito Invasion

After all the rain we had, the resulting mosquito infestation is now out of control! I thought living in a big city meant you didn't have to deal with dozens of bites every summer. Well, I am not happy about these little buggers, so this means war. Because the last thing I want when it's 90 degrees and hella humid is a mosquito mob coming at me. Fortunately, for the community, my idea of war means following a few smart tips and wearing a lot of DEET.

To fight off mosquitoes, you have to think like a mosquito. They breed in shallow standing water. So immediately after the rain, get out and do a clean sweep. Mosquitos "see" you by sensing CO2 (your exhalations), your body heat, and lactic acid. So working out, doing heavy gardening, is going to get you noticed. Wearing dark colors makes you warmer, so go for white. Also note, a high protein diet will lead to increased emission of lactic acid.

Some of these natural products do work, but have minimal or shortened effectiveness. I usually combine a few of these at the same time and have found it fairly effective. If I get more than a couple bites, I then add the DEET bug spray.
- Citronella: works in a small area, dependent on wind direction and oil concentration of candle
- Lemon Eucalyptus oil: apply the essential oil directly to the skin.
- Lemongrass oil: same as above
- Marigolds and chrysanthemums: The insecticides thymol, ocimene or pyrethrin are very effective against many garden insects, but not proven for mosquitoes.

Yes, I grab the DEET bug spray. Personally, after having had malaria (3 times when I lived in Kenya), I would much rather have something that has proven effectiveness. Here is the full text insect repellent efficacy study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. There are pros and cons, but read it and then decide. I will only apply it to my clothes, not my skin. And keep the spray away from your sunglass, because DEET can corrode some plastics.

Good luck out there. It's a jungle!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails