Summer's here, and the world's deadliest creature is back: the mosquito! These critters spread all kinds of diseases, and they’re on the rise. But don't panic! We spoke with John Townsend from the Maricopa County Environmental Services, who says mosquito defense is a simple, three-step process.
1. Protect Yourself
Start protecting yourself with some handy-dandy bug spray. “The main thing – you can use repellents,” says John. Also make sure to cover up! “Most people don't like to wear long sleeves [or] long pants in the summertime,” he adds. What isn't as obvious is that, like sunscreen, we don't re-apply mosquito spray often enough. “You may have to re-apply that material every half hour, just to stay on top of it.” If the chemical sprays aren't your thing, the CDC recommends using lemon eucalyptus repellent. This plant based spray is only five bucks at target.
2. Protect Your Yard & House
Next up, protect your yard and house by getting rid of the biggest mosquito magnet: standing water! “Mosquitos can't go through their life cycle without water,” explains John. You can find water in everything from puddles outside, to plants, and drains inside your home. But John says there's an easy, non-toxic fix: “Mosquito dunks they're called. It's just a bacteria – looks like a little donut, and you throw it in the water.” And for big problems like an infested pool, most environmental services departments have a surprising solution for ponds or pools. “We'll put the mosquito fish in the pool. Then, the mosquito fish will eat the larva,” reveals our expert.
3. Check Your Local Resources
Finally, check out your city or county’s vector control services resources. These professionals trap the mosquitos to assess the threat in your community. “We set out close to 800 traps every week...Then those mosquitos come in here, and we test for disease,” shares John. You can log on to see what diseases may be in your area – and even request a spray, usually at no cost.
If mosquitos are killing your summer buzz big time, now you’ve got three ways to stay bite-free!