It's peak season; How to best repel mosquitoes

8:25 PM, Jun 19, 2012   |    comments
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BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - If it seems as though the mosquitoes are worse this year, you may be right.

The mosquito season is peaking early in the Twin Cities. Usually it's around the Fourth of July.

Mosquito Control Inspector Gary Hillsdale was at Greenhaven Park in Brooklyn Park Tuesday treating standing water with products to kill mosquito larvae.

"Mosquitoes have had a really good start this year and we've been able to get out there and treat pretty close to 150,000 to 200,000 acres to keep those mosquitoes from developing but there are an awful lot of them that are out there," said Mike McLean with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD).

But, MMCD can't get all of them, so if mosquitoes are bugging you, they have some suggestions for which products are most effective at repelling them.

McLean said the most effective way keep mosquitoes off you is with DEET.  However, more isn't necessarily better. 

"10 percent DEET will work just as well as 100 percent DEET. What happens though with the percentage is the higher the percentage of DEET the longer the material tends to last," said McLean.

Also effective, McLean said, is permethrin which kills mosquitoes and ticks but it is only to be sprayed on clothing. McLean said, "You want to make sure this isn't used on your skin."

Once the clothing is treated, it should be effective through multiple wash cycles.

He said personal clip-on devices claiming to repel mosquitoes can be effective if they have a good active ingredient. He said it's important to always read the directions.

There are more natural options too. 

"Oil of lemon eucalyptus is an effective repellant. Another one is called picaridin," added McLean.

Other ways to keep mosquitoes at bay are to avoid hairsprays, perfumes and going out at dusk.

Also, McLean said you can dress to repel. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors as the sun sets. He said remember, "The three L's: long, light and loose. Long-sleeved, light colored, loose-fitting clothing can really go a long way toward making you more comfortable in the evening."

Those are some ways to keep mosquitoes off of you. But is it also possible to keep them out of your yard?

McLean said sprays for the perimeter of your yard will work for a day or two. 

"You want to look for things that have a pyrethrin in it.  Those tend to be good and not have a lot of environmental problems with them," said McLean.

But he cautions, always closely follow instructions on all repellants because the same chemicals that kill mosquitoes may also kill fish or other insects like monarch butterflies.

What does not repel mosquitoes? McLean says garlic and devices that emit sound don't work.

He said citronella will keep some mosquitoes away but with our wet weather there could be a lot of mosquitoes so you may need more power than that.

He said if you live in the metro area and your neighborhood has a bad mosquito problem, call the Minnesota Mosquito Control District and they may be able to look into the issue for you.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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