With Memorial Day weekend approaching, Americans are doubtlessly considering long weekend plans that include the outdoors — barbecues, bonfires, camping, et cetera.
With those activities comes the promise of mosquito bites. This year, though, fears over mosquito-borne Zika virus spreading, officials are trying to give people advice on how to prevent bites, NJ.com reports.
“Zika and the other mosquito-borne diseases are scary,” Gloucester County Freeholder Frank DiMarco told NJ.com. “As bad as Zika is, it’s really opened the community’s eyes to how dangerous mosquitoes are and made them want to be proactive in prevention.”
Here are some tips local officials gave the paper that could be applied elsewhere.
1. Lighting citronella candles helps because the oil from citronella plants repels mosquitoes. The smoke confuses the insects and helps prevent them from smelling hosts.
2. Although it may not be the most appealing solution in warm weather, experts recommend people wear long pants and sleeves are a surefire way to keep the bugs from biting.
“We don’t want to force people to wear long pants and long sleeves but sometimes that’s your best bet,” Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez told NJ.com. “Thick clothing can serve as protection just as well, if not better than repellents.”
3. Another way to help ward off mosquitoes is to remove anything in yards that could attract them. Standing water is a notorious magnet for mosquitoes — even in small amounts.
“If everyone were to clean up their yards, dump buckets and stagnant water, it would significantly cut breeding opportunities,” Gloucester county official Heather Simmons told the paper.
4. Cleaning up unkempt yards is another way of containing the problem.
“Keeping grass maintained and short, and being sure to keep puddles from gathering is a proven method from keeping mosquitos from moving in and calling your yard home,” NJ.com reports.
5. Experts also recommend products containing DEET, which is the term used for the chemical ingredient N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. ” The CDC recommends products containing more 20% Deet on exposed skin to reduce bites from mosquitoes and ticks that could spread disease,” according to the publication.
6. If all else fails, call your county nuisance or pest control. Sometimes the problem comes from an abandoned property, a neglected swimming pool or other residential nuisances that need to be abated.
“All people need to do is give the county a call and we’ll come out,” Rodriguez told NJ.com. “Homes, businesses, and even abandoned or empty properties that are getting out of hand. We want to work with the community to keep the mosquito population down.”