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Extension > Yard and Garden News > Prepare For Mosquito Season

Prepare For Mosquito Season

Jeffrey Hahn, UMN Extension Entomologist

Aedes sp.jpg

Photo 1: Aedes mosquito. Jeff Hahn.

With the rains that have fallen on most of Minnesota recently, you can expect the number of mosquitoes to significantly increase. However, keeping away from these blood-lusting insects is easier said than done. The bites are bad enough but we also have to worry about mosquito transmitted diseases, especially West Nile virus. There are certain precautions you can take to protect yourself when you are in mosquito-infested areas. You can minimize your exposure by avoiding times when mosquito activity is the highest, i.e. dawn and dusk and also wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

However, the best method for protecting yourself from mosquito bites is using a repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several repellents that you apply to your skin and clothes for mosquito control. The best overall repellent has traditionally been DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). DEET has been available to the public since 1956 and has been consistently very effective. The CDC also recommends picaridin, considered a conventional repellent, and oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535, considered to be biopesticide repellents, derived from natural products.

You can also consider using 0.5% permethrin on clothing, shoes, netting, tents, and other camping gear. This insecticide will kill mosquitoes on contact. However, unlike repellents, don't apply permethrin to your skin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a web page that allows you to find a repellent that is appropriate for your use. You can enter information on whether you want to use this repellent for mosquitoes or ticks, how long you want the repellent to be effective, and if you are looking for a particular active ingredient.

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