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Ways to keep mosquitoes away

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Mosquito fish are far from being a cure-all to mosquito infestation.

They help control their populations and can be used in a variety of outdoor water settings. But the little fish can’t thrive in all conditions, which is why area health officials insist that people contact them to find out whether the fish would work in a given setting, such as in ornamental pools, ponds and birdbaths.

It takes more effort for humans to stay safe, experts warn.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends repellents applied to skin and clothing. Most safe and effective are those containing active ingredients registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Products containing DEET and Picaridin typically provide long-lasting protection and are EPA-registered.

Products containing at least 20 percent DEET work for adults, though children shouldn’t use a formula that contains more than 10 percent.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also registered with the EPA. This plant-based repellent has been found to offer protection similar to repellents with low concentrations of DEET and provides an alternative to the man-made chemicals, according to the Nevada State Health Division.

Also, cover up exposed skin when going outside at dusk and dawn.

Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in stagnant water once it reaches an adequately warm temperature. People’s yards can provide a surprising numbers of places for the insects to breed if water is left sitting around for only three to four days:

• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires and any other containers around your yard capable of holding water.

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools – even when not in use.

Though experts predict this year won’t be especially good or bad for the mosquito population, these insects still will be among us.