While you may not recognize that summer is here because of the dreary weather, cooler temperatures and abundance of rain, it is definitely the middle of July. Unfortunately because of this weather, many cities and towns across Ontario are seeing a proliferation of the dreaded mosquito. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has released evidence that mosquitoes in Collingwood have tested positive for the West Nile virus this year. This doesn’t mean that Collingwood is seeing an outbreak of West Nile Virus, just that Collingwood, like other areas in Ontario, have a positive testing for the virus. While the majority of people won’t get sick if bitten by a West Nile infected mosquito, there are things you can do to protect yourself from getting bitten.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites during peak times (dusk and dawn) is to use a repellent. Consumer Reports did testing to determine the most effective mosquito repellents that deter mosquitoes from biting. Their testing found that natural repellents, like those made with plant oils were not very effective. Rather, the most effective ones were those that contained 15 to 30 percent deet, 20 percent picaridin or 30 percent OLE. Their recommended use is that you apply it on your clothes and only on exposed skin and applying to your face with your hands.
Find a breezy spot
If you are in a situation where you really don’t want to use repellant, but still want to keep the bugs away, consider a fan. Mosquitoes have a hard time flying in wind, so install a fan on your Collingwood deck or patio. Angle the fan down, as many mosquitoes fly close to the ground to avoid the wind.
Wear protective clothing
You definitely know that mosquitoes can bite you right through your clothes, but only certain ones. Clothing that has a tight weave, like high-tech athletic apparel or others made with synthetic fibers will be good to keep the mosquitoes out. On the other hand, cottons and linens are not enough to stop a bug from biting you through your pants or shirt. Mosquitoes are also attracted to dark clothing, so try to wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing.
Remove mosquito habitats
As a Collingwood homeowner, you have a duty to ensure mosquitoes don’t breed in your yard. Any standing water is the perfect spot for this to happen so ensure you remove standing water in:
· Old tires
· Plastic covers
· Bird baths
· Wading pools
· Potted plant trays
If the water is flowing or moving, then you are good, like in your swimming pool or hot tub or a fountain that stays on.
What doesn’t work?
Bug lights, zappers, traps, citronella candles or torches, and mosquito plants have been studied and found to not be good prevention from mosquito bites.