By Missy Henriksen – National Pest Management Association
Friday, July 5, 2013
Right after college, a sales person came to my door boasting of a product that would clean everything in my house, was edible (if, for some reason you wanted to eat it), and was inexpensive. After a quick demonstration, I bought some. Lots, in fact. And with all that was promised and a successful demonstration, why not? Well, for some reason, my products didn’t seem to work as well as the sales person’s had. I was naive and I was gullible – but more importantly, I suppose, I wanted the product to work as it had been described. But alas.
As I have recently watched boastful claims being made about sure-fire home remedies for mosquito prevention, I have been reminded of my naiveté and gullibility in wanting something to work as promised, even when it sounded too good to be true. As we embark upon summer pest season, I urge you to take proper precautions to keep yourself safe against mosquitoes and their bites with products that are proven safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests consumers use products with DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, and notes that “some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.” If it’s good enough for the CDC and the team of scientists they have at their disposal, it’s good enough for me. My family’s health is too important to rely on trial and error of some far-fetched concoctions that might sound good on FaceBook or blogs.
Insect repellent is as mandatory in our family as sunscreen is. (And by the way, when applying both, sunscreen should go on first and then the bug spray.) Most of us realize how important it is to our health to use sunblock; I wish more people understood the public health importance of repellent.
With incidents of mosquitoes transmitting West Nile Virus on the rise as well as increased reports of Dengue fever, personal protection is paramount. I have tried to come up with some catchy jingles or phrases to promote protection from mosquitoes:
- Repellent all day keeps the bugs at bay.
- Spray on; bugs off
- Don’t run away – just spray
But, well, I obviously don’t have a future in jingle writing.
Of course, repellent is only part of the battle against the bugs. It’s also important to ensure there are no sources of standing water on your property. Mosquitoes breed in as little as 1/2 “ of water so after every heavy rain, inspect your grill covers, flower pots, outdoor toys, and all other places where water can sit.
Please be safe this summer and when it comes to insect protection, don’t take chances.