Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Take steps to keep bloodsuckers away

By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 10, 2014 at 1:10 a.m.

Mosquitoes are universal irritants. Across the world, they plague mankind with their swarming, itchy bites and potential to spread diseases.

The lack of rain over the past few years has helped keep the mosquito population down because the larvae live and grow in stagnant water. But the recent rains have caused a sudden increase in the number of these biting pests. The city of Victoria fogged the streets last week to help reduce the population, but that will not completely solve the problem, especially if residents allow standing water to remain on their property.

While the U.S. does not have the problem with malaria and other diseases transmitted through mosquito bites that other countries have, we do occasionally see an outbreak of West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes, so we urge our readers to be cautious when stepping outside.

Last week, we asked our readers to share their personal remedies for dealing with these blood-sucking pests. Some, such as spraying mouthwash on the skin or wearing dryer sheets to ward them off, seemed interesting. But if you would like to know more conventional methods to deal with these insects, here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. • Apply insect repellent. There are several repellents that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Use a repellent containing permethrin on your clothes but not your skin. For skin repellent, the CDC recommends using a repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or the plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. Do not apply repellent on skin under clothing.

• Cover up as much as possible. Texas summers are scorching hot, but the less exposed skin you have, the fewer places mosquitoes have to bite.

• Avoid going outside during peak times. More mosquitoes are active during the dusk and dawn hours. Try to limit going outdoors during these times and wear protective clothing and repellent if you do.

• Take steps to prevent the population from growing even more. Get rid of any standing water on your property, such as water trapped inside old tires or buckets. You should also check with your local government to see what kinds of pesticides are being used in the area.

The truth is, we will never get rid of all the mosquitoes. The best we can do is to find ways to limit the population and take steps to reduce our exposure to them. We hope everyone is able to enjoy the outdoors this year in spite of these bloodsucking pests.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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