Are you going to take a wait and see approach – let the mosquitoes have their way and just accept some pretty casual about mosquitoes…
What’s the big deal–get a bite –get a few bites…But getting a bite can be a health issue these days; especially in some areas.
This hit home when a friend’s mother (who lives in Sacramento, California) was diagnosed with West Nile Virus two years ago: I got spooked. I had no idea that you could get West Nile Virus in Sacramento, California from a mosquito bite. Did you?
But you can…
In fact, if you want to get an idea of where some of the disease carrying mosquitoes, like the one that carries West Nile Virus are in your area, take a look at this Map from the USGS (United States Geological Society), it shows reported cases of West Nile Virus throughout the USA, by state and also by county. It turns out that there are a lot of reported cases of West Nile Virus, (compared to other mosquito spread diseases; not ticks) and California and Texas appear to have the most reported cases. For example, total human cases of West Nile Virus for 2016 in the USA was 2039; California was 424; Texas was 354.
So… for 2017, I’m thinking that even though the map has no reported cases in San Francisco County (where I live) BUT, many counties that I spend time in, within California (and else where in the USA) have reported cases of West Nile Virus; and, other viruses that are spread through mosquito and/or tick bites.
Since I spend a lot of time outdoors – entertaining, camping, hiking, gardening, cycling, just as a part of my lifestyle, I think that it’s prudent to be proactive and play defense against these biting critters.
General Info About Disease Carrying Mosquitoes
Here are some mosquitoes that carry diseases we all want to avoid:
Aedes mosquitoes – The bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito can spread Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya. Mosquitoes become infected with Zika, Dengue, or Chikungunya virus when they bite a person who is infected with one of those viruses. Infected mosquitoes can then spread one of these viruses to other people. Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics and subtropics. In the USA there have been (some) outbreaks in Texas, Florida and Hawaii.
Culex mosquitoes – These mosquitoes currently infect more people in continental US with West Nile Virus than other mosquito born diseases.
Unfortunately, No Cure at Present, Prevention is Key!
How to Prevent Getting Bitten By Mosquitoes
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
Prevent mosquito bites! Choose an EPA-registered insect repellent. Make sure to follow directions when applying to get the repellent’s full designed protection.
I know that Zika and Dengue aren’t in my area to date. But West Nile, it’s in many counties in California that I spend plenty of time in, so that’s another story.
Repellent wise, I did some quick research and wanted to share that info with you. Not sure how you feel, but for me, I’m most interested in having a serious repellent on hand to control and match the different disease carrying mosquitoes (and ticks that carry Lyme’s disease) when and where I’m spending time outdoors, and need it.
Choosing a Mosquito and Insect Repellents that Work!
As I mentioned, many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue, and West Nile Virus. See Zika Map here.
If I’m outdoors gardening, hiking, cycling, or even at a picnic for 4 to 8+ hours (For example, in an area that has reported cases of Lyme’s disease, like New York or Connecticut where I spend time each summer; I don’t want to worry about constantly reapplying repellent for effectiveness. Basically, I want to have peace of mind, and use a trusted repellent that works.
That said, I found some proven & tested mosquito/tick repellents via Consumers Report in their July 2016 issue!
These brands use one of the three active ingredients: Picaridin, DEET, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus in the necessary percentages recommended by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
I’ve listed there top 3 choices – these have CR’s best overall score for repelling Aedes, Culex and Deer tick for the longest time. Others choices are also listed. (* Below, I’ve included my link to Amazon if you are looking to buy.)
See complete CR insect repellent ratings here.
Insect Repellent and Other Good Mosquito Info
According to the EPA – when used as directed – EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Learn about brands registering insect/mosquito repellents with the EPA.
Want to know how to APPLY insect repellents safely and effectively? Read this article from the EPA site.
I also found the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) to be helpful for checking current info about mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects.
Standing water in the garden is an issue… Read our post about what you can do all season long to prevent standing water and mosquitoes in your outdoor space.
And finally, here are some good natural mosquito control tips!