Skeeters in Full Bloom

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

The hot, muggy summer season is difficult on us, but easy on mosquitoes. They thrive on it but the threat of mosquito-borne diseases has many companies capitalizing on products to keep the buggers away.

A local bug expert is conducting a study to find out if they really work. Last year close to 100 people contracted the deadly West Nile Virus, which is spread through mosquito bites. The increase in West Nile cases has many companies jumping on the mosquito control bandwagon, but a four-year study by a Panama City entomologist found that most of the gadgets don't work as marketed.

"The Mosquito Magnet, Liberty, certainly trapped more than others, but what we found was that it doesn't catch enough to make a difference," says Entomologist John Smith.

Smith says there are billions of mosquitoes in just one environment, and the Mosquito Magnet only traps about one percent of the buggers. That means you'd probably have to buy dozens of these traps to even put a dent in mosquito population.

An alternative to the mosquito traps are repellants containing deet, but some people are sensitive to the chemicals in these repellants, so Dr. Smith says there are some alternatives including the herbal repellant, Lemon Eucalyptus. It has no deet and is very effective.

If you decide to use deet remember there are different concentrations, the highest lasting the longest.

"If you're going to apply it to your children it's not recommended to apply anything over 10 percent," says Dr. Smith.

Smith says the mosquito-borne disease season runs from July to October. Remember to stay indoors from dusk until dawn and always cover up. If you'd like to learn more about Smith's study you can log on to www.pherec.org/decs.


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