become an important public health concern Flooding in many parts of the United States spring and summer of 2011 has raised concern about the increase of mosquito populations, especially those that carry the West Nile virus. Check with officials in your area as to which mosquitoes are the carriers of the virus and the impact of flooding on these species. Although the West Nile virus mainly infects birds, it can be transmitted to humans and other animals by certain species of mosquitoes that take blood meals from both birds and humans. The bite from just one infected mosquito is all that is needed to transfer the disease. In humans, West Nile virus disease symptoms vary from no visible effect to flu-like symptoms, paralysis, or even death. All age groups are susceptible, but the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to experience severe forms of the disease.
Most effective ways to prevent bites and control mosquitoes at home
Insect repellents are recommended as the best way for one to protect themselves from mosquito bites when involved in outdoor activities. Repellents act by making a person "undesirable" for feeding or in other words the repellent masks the gases and scents known to be attractive to mosquitoes.
DEET and Picaridin are recommended to be applied to the skin and permethrin applied on the clothing. DEET and Picaridin repel mosquitoes while permethrin actually kills mosquitoes on contact.
Using DEET or Picaridin alone or permethrin alone will not be as effective as using the two in combination. However, using DEET or Picaridin alone may be sufficient for most outdoor activities such as going to the park, mowing the lawn, gardening, or relaxing in the backyard. Individuals who will be outdoors for an extended period of time, like hunters and campers, are encouraged to use the combination of DEET or Picaridin and permethrin.
There are alternative repellents such as combinations of soybean oil, geranium oil and coconut oil and lemon eucalyptus that have been shown to repel mosquitoes, but only for short periods of time. Before using any repellent read and follow all label directions.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water. Repair broken screens and windows on your home.