Natural Chemical-Free Mosquito Prevention

Photo: flickr.com

Are you doing everything possible to reduce mosquito breeding?

If you’re not sure, here’s a checklist:

  • Remove, turn over, or cover any container that can hold water, such as tin cans, buckets, ceramic pots, plastic covers, and toys.
  • Store unused tires inside a garage or shed, or drill drainage holes in them.
  • Change water often (at least once a week) in birdbaths, fountains, wading pools, potted plant trays, and watering troughs.
  • Keep water off swimming pool covers. Maintain water quality in the pool. Drain wading pools regularly.
  • Make sure roof gutters are draining properly. Clean any debris out once a year.
  • Drain (or fill with dirt) unneeded or unwanted pools or puddles.
  • Clear obstructions to promote flow of water in catch basins and storm drains
  • Fill tree holes with sand or mortar.
  • Avoid over irrigation of your lawn.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.

Here are some additional precautions you can take:

  • Check that your window and door screens are “bug tight.” Repair or replace if needed.
  • Don’t plan outdoor activities during times when mosquito activity is high (dusk to dawn). That is not a good option for me.
  • If you go to places with lots of mosquitoes, wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants. Light colors are the best.
  • Head nets can also be helpful and are also great conversation pieces.
  • Replace outdoor lighting with yellow “bug” lights.

Be sure to select DEET-Free repellents–DEET can be dangerous to your health–but beware of Picaridin. While, according to the CDC, Picaridin is an acceptable alternative to DEET and contains 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester). I have no idea what that means, but my gut reaction is: it’s a chemical and I’d rather not spray it on my skin, the largest organ of my body.  Since the CDC also lists DEET as a good repellent, I don’t exactly trust their acceptance of Picaridin.

If you need a repellent and you need it now, find one with Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (organic, if possible!), which CDC has evaluated and deemed a natural ingredient that provides reasonably long-lasting protection.

If you’re ever wondering about the safety of a product or ingredient, here’s a great resource:

Pesticide Action Network. Search for chemicals, pesticides and specific brand name products in their database (not limited to mosquito sprays!).They also have some great information on how to manage pests on people and pets.

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