And now Enters the Mosquito
By Joseph Parish
As if the recent flu outbreak was not enough we are now about to witness an onslaught of another pest – the mosquito. This one we can see but that does not make it any less deadly. Most of our readers are well aware of the problems that are often associated with this biting insect. There are several diseases which are readily passed by it from one human to another. The state health officials have stated that encephalitis as well as the West Nile are possible threats at this time. Whether it can perhaps be instrumental in the flu progression is yet unknown.
What we do know is that southern Georgia has recently declared a health emergency due to the increase in mosquito population. There are currently ten counties in the state of Georgia that are now under this health emergency issue.
Due to the increase in flooding this season the mosquito population has increased drastically. Mosquitoes are just about everywhere and the flooded areas have become breeding grounds for millions of these biting pests. At this time there has been reported a 9 percent increase and it is still early in the season so higher figures are to be expected.
If this can happen in Georgia it can happen anywhere. We have experienced a very wet season in the past months and where there is a body of water we can rightfully expect mosquitoes. Although they are inevitable that we will encounter the mosquitoes it is important that we use protection when possible. We can do certain things to protect ourselves when in contact with them.
With every passing year our market place is swamped with new products coming out that would combat the problems associated with mosquitoes. Additionally, we have many of the older remedies that supposedly repel mosquitoes very well. In all reality it seems that very few of these devices function to any reasonable degree and usually we end up wasting good money on devices which are capable of killing or repelling everything but the mosquitoes.
The hand-held electronic machines made to repel mosquitoes rely upon high frequency sound as its means of chasing mosquitoes away. Years ago I constructed a homemade version of these machines before they were commercially available and unfortunately it failed to work up to my expectations. The modern commercial versions have disappointed me just as well.
The popular Bug zappers rely upon ultraviolet light to attract the insects and an electrified wire grid to kill them. Even though you may continually hear the bugs being electrocuted in all reality this machine merely zaps less then one percent of the insects in your yard. Not good odds is it?
The citrosa plants have traditionally been used for many years as a means of mosquito repelling. The sad part of this is that studies have revealed that this plant does not repel mosquitoes at all.
Now we come to repellents which contain DEET. DEET provides a short term protection for your skin and is effective against most biting insects. Care must be exercised in using DEET as high concentrations may cause toxicity while it has been shown that even small amounts of DEET can be absorbed into the human body via its skin. Okay so where does this leave us?
Since mosquitoes are often attracted to anything which reminds them of nectar or mammal flesh it is important that when you are outdoors that you wear light clothing which completely covers your body. Keep as much of your skin and hair covered as is practical for you. Avoid any bright, floral type colors.
Body odors also tend to attract them. Try to avoid scented soaps, lotions and shampoos.
A vast number of the mosquito species prefer biting during the dusk till dawn time frame. Should the weather become hot and humid you can count on an increase in mosquito attacks. When possible try to avoid being outdoors during these peak feeding times.
Avoid any areas of still water.
Although we have cited the precautions associated with DETET the CDC never the less recommend DEET as a primary deterrent for mosquitoes. However, when used these products should be used sparingly on children. Never use a DEET product on a child under two months of age.
It is not necessary to apply your insect repellent under your clothing as this only cause’s additional absorption. Avoid applying the repellent to any portion of your hands which might come in contact with your mouth or eyes.
Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish
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