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What’s Eating You? Keeping Summer Insects From Ruining Your Fun (LIF: Safety)

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

They’re almost everywhere and they are putting a damper on your summer. No, not ex-paramours, but another type of “bug” that is guaranteed to bug you all season long. Still, are bug bites any reason to stay indoors? Not according to the professionals who offer some pointers on how to not get “ticked”-off by this creepy critters.

1. Stave Them Off With Repellents: From sprays to lotions, creams, and wipes, you’ll want to take as many precautions against the saboteurs of summer-fun. However, you may want to avoid brands with DET since its generally associated with a pesky, pungent smell and greasy feel. Products with picaridin are a better option since they are scent-free and work just as well as products containing DEET.

Repellents are best for warding off mosquitoes, “invisibugs”, and gnats (but do nothing for bees or wasps). They are most suited for those out between dusk and dawn and when you’re near water, where mosquitoes are known to breed. Experts suggest applying a thin coat to all exposed areas and reapplying when bugs get close and begin to nibble.

As far as safety is concerned, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests there are no health concerns with proper use. However they recommend keeping away from, eyes, mouth, and any open cuts or wounds.

2. Dress For Success: Besides choosing light, flowing fabrics that will keep you cool in the summer heat, choose garments such as long, flowing skirts and tops that keep bugs at bay. Experts note that mosquitoes will bite through snug-fitting garments and are drawn to sharp contrasts between skin and clothing. With that said, they suggest opting for lighter tones and shades if you are fair skinned, and vying for darker hues if your skin is darker too. However, if you are gardening paler fabrics are your better option, since they make it easier to spot ticks. And, don’t forget to cover your arms and legs to protect them from ticks, as well as making sure your socks are Downy-fresh, since some members of the mosquito clan prefer smelly feet.

3. Fight Fire With Fire: Hot summer nights can often mean nasty bug bits for you and your guests, and handing everyone some bug repellent may not be party apropos. Instead experts suggest candles, torches and/or lanterns to keep guests from becoming the main feast at your backyard bash. Most candle-like products contain citronella oil, which is derived from a type of plant. The smoke and scents obstruct the receptors mosquitoes have on their antennae, blocking your scent and therefore keeping them away from you. And, while the results aren’t always perfect, they are noticeable.

For best results, use a combination of several candles or torches positioning them several feet apart, preferably in a circle.

4. Let NATURE Take Its Course: Opposed to candles or chemicals? Turn on a fan. Mosquitoes are too weak to fly against the wind to reach their target. Plus, note experts, the wind help to dissipate your body scent so mosquitoes had a hard time finding you.

5. Location, Location, Location: Before heading outdoors, check out the mosquito forecast for your area. Simply log onto and enter in your zip code. This site, a “division” of The Weather Channel observes several conditions including time, temperature, humidity, recent rain and wind, day, month, and light of the moon and bases it’s predictions on the combination of these that often contribute to how many pests you can expect and how successful they’ll be at finding you.

Long Island Safety Articles > What’s Eating You? Keeping Summer Insects From Ruining Your Fun (LIF: Safety)

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