Preventing summer mosquito bites

Each year, we hear frightening news stories about cases of West Nile virus and encephalitis and do what we can to stay healthy, but with the emergence of dangerous mosquito-borne pathogens like the Zika virus in the southern U.S., it's more important than ever to protect you and your loved ones from this seasonal threat. However, your summer preparations should go beyond just bug spray! Mosquito population levels are heavily contingent on the environment in which they live, and the layout of your home and yard could be helping them thrive inadvertently!

Remove all standing water

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in puddles and any other location that features some kind of standing water.If you have any overturned buckets or pots that are allowed to collect rainwater in your yard, this is all the opening that these insects need to breed. As summer kicks off, take a closer look at your yard and check spaces like gutters for proper drainage and any garden items that can collect water and empty them out to eliminate a large majority of the mosquitoes in the vicinity.

Grow mosquito-repellent plants

If you have a deck or other outdoor area that your family uses often, try to frame this area with planters filled with plants that repel mosquitoes naturally. Some of the most easy to grow and care for include citronella grasses, catnip, marigolds, ageratum and horsemint. These plants have particular aromas that mosquitoes strictly avoid, which can make for a less-buggy environment outdoors.

Air curtains

If you've ever walked into a store and felt that cool breeze of air above you in the doorway, you've walked through an air curtain! These devices are extremely helpful for home mosquito control purposes, and they can be mounted above doorways and around outdoor living spaces to deter mosquitoes and other insects from entering these areas. Mosquitoes prefer still air and generally avoid windy conditions, and air curtains also double as an energy saver when mounted above doorways to prevent indoor air loss.

LED lighting

Your outdoor lighting choices may also have a major impact on the density of mosquito populations around your home. While LED lights do emit some blue light that attracts mosquitoes, they emit very little light in the ultraviolet spectrum and less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs. Best of all, LEDs use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, so they are a great energy saver. While they will not completely prevent the attraction of bugs, they can make your outdoor areas more comfortable - and sustainable to boot!

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