New studies shed light on how best to avoid mosquitos and their nasty bites.
Summer in Wyoming is here and so are the mosquitos. They are at the lake, in backyards in town and just about everywhere in the county. And they can spread serious diseases such as the West Nile Virus, Equine Encephalitis, bird flu virus which are in Wyoming and Zika virus, yellow fever virus, and malaria. There are avoidance methods which help to decrease attacks without chemicals. Mosquitos find you by body scent, heat, CO2 and appearance. Mosquito repellents don’t really repel but confuses the mosquito’s tracking of targets. They are attracted to larger dark objects so wearing light clothing helps. They are rarely encountered during the day in direct sunlight. They hang out in shadowy areas in forests and other shaded areas, so avoid these areas. They usually are most active between dusk and dawn so avoid going out without some protection during this time.
The easiest protection is wearing loosely fitting long sleeved shirts and long pants. There are sprays that are specifically for clothing and kill mosquitos when they land on treated areas. They contain permethrin which remains in the clothing for several washings
DEET has been the standard chemical repellant for years but it has drawbacks. Recent studies suggest the only effective concentration is 100%(repels 66% of mosquitos). In this concentration there are worries about absorption through the skin and nerve/brain toxicity, especially in children.
Recent studies suggest there are safer and more effective methods of repelling mosquitos.
One is a clip-on by OFF! Which contains metofluthrin and works the best at repelling mosquitos(repels 73% of mosquitos).
The second-best repellent is lemon eucalyptus oil(repels 70% of mosquitos). There are several brands including Repel, and Cutter. It is very safe to use, doesn’t have the toxicity of DEET and it is more effective.
Other much less effective sprays include Skin-so-soft( repels 21%), Cutter advanced spray and other sprays containing picaridin, any DEET spray less than 100% concentration(repels 31% on average), and other herbal sprays(repels 40%).