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Mosquitoes: How to Beat the Summer Sting

Mosquitoes are nefarious, filthy little creatures that carry all manner of diseases (West Nile virus, anyone?) and, if not for their prominent place on the food chain they would easily land within the Top 5 Species Deserving of Extinction – but we all love animals and respect life, so how do we handle these infernal beasts?</br></br>It could be true that no one said it better than Sun Tzu: <em>Know thy enemy</em>.</br></br><strong>Mosquito Facts You Should Know</strong></br></br>1.<em> Breeding:</em> Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water, so if you have a) drainage issues on your property, b) a lot of precipitation and/or c) a kiddie pool that should have been emptied last year, you may need to take more aggressive action.</br></br>2. <em>Timing:</em> There are many mosquito species, but all of them feed at dusk, at night or in places with continuous dark shade. It’s not so surprising that monsters feed at night, eh?</br></br>3. <em>Tasting:</em> That is, mosquitoes like tasting <em>you</em>. And, surprise surprise, their tastes differ among the various mosquito types. That’s why cousin Eddie is always bragging about his “mosquito force field” while the rest of you are being chewed to ribbons. In reality, though, Ed may not fare as well in a mosquito minefield of a different genus.</br></br>4. <em>Attracting:</em> There are literally hundreds of different things about you that may attract a mosquito, you charming devil. Just a few include your exhaled breath (CO2), sweat, body heat and the bacteria-skin combos that make up your, ah, personal musk.</br></br><strong>Mosquito Prevention You Should Practice</strong></br></br>So, how does all this science help you stay out of the line of fire? Let’s take a look:</br></br><em>1. Eliminate standing water wherever possible.</em></br></br>The kiddie-pool joke is really no joke. Dump that thing out along with birdbaths, decorative ponds, rain barrels and any other water feature you’re not in the habit of refreshing. Also be sure to unclog gutters that may trap water and create a delightful place for mosquitoes to breed.</br></br><em>2. Keep in mind that mosquitoes prefer dark, shady times and places.</em></br></br>That doesn’t mean you need to limit your outdoor activity to daytime hours; just remember when and where you might need to rely on a mosquito repellent. It also might give you a clue on how you can manage your landscaping to further prevent a mosquito mauling.</br></br><em>3. Know your mosquito repellent options.</em></br></br>The days of DEET are over. Now we have all kinds of options when it comes to safe and effective mosquito repellent. Citronella, cinnamon and lemon eucalyptus oil are well-known natural repellents, but there are other methods. Mosquito traps, screens and netting are also effective control methods in addition to manufactured repellent.</br></br>Good luck keeping the bloodsuckers at bay!
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