Safeguard your home from mosquitoes

Lemongrass-OilSpend time outdoors of late, and you may come back inside with a mosquito bite.

This spring’s rains provided ripe conditions for mosquito breeding grounds. One of ABC 33/40 Facebook friends, Donnette Hicks, believes mosquitoes are “ten times worse this year.” She wants to know, “Is there a home remedy to safeguard your house and loved ones from these nasty pests?”

Chris Lord is the seasonal department manager at Lowe’s in Hoover. Lord knows once the mosquitoes begin to bite, business begins to pick up. “There has been a great deal of people, a lot of people coming in,” says Lord. “We’ve had a lot of rain, the mosquitoes like to lay their eggs and their larvae in the stagnant water. Any stagnant water, bird baths, pots, make sure you’re emptying those on a regular basis.”

The best way to snuff out the mosquito hot-beds is through whole yard treatments. The most popular treatments are chemical sprays that latch on to a garden hose. There’s also a ‘fogger’ machine and other personalized sprays. These treatments aren’t a one time fix. “Every time it rains, you’re going to have those collection areas. You just want to eliminate those collection areas as best as possible,” Lord says.

If you’re looking to go the natural route — try lemongrass oil as a pesticide. Doctors at the regional poison control center at Children’s of Alabama say lemongrass oil offers a safe alternative to chemical sprays. You might also try mosquito dunks, which are placed in standing water to prevent the growth of mosquito larvae.

Cities are responsible for spraying for mosquitoes within their limits. Don Lupo, director of the mayor’s office of citizens assistance in Birmingham, says the city sprays for mosquitoes every night. “If you’re really getting eaten up by mosquitoes, if you live near water. You can call 3-1-1. And make a request for that mosquito truck to come into your area, and hit it a little harder,” says Lupo.

The city sprays chemicals at night, because the spray isn’t effective in the daylight. “It has to be done at dusk or during the night, so sometimes the mosquito truck may not come into your neighborhood until well after you’ve gone to bed. You may miss the truck, but it’s out there spraying.” Anyone who has concerns about chemicals can request no spray near their home. Lupo says, “We try to adhere to those requests to. So, you can get an extra spray, or we won’t spray, if you have a medical condition.”

Some other notes from the regional poison control center:

-Children two and older should only use spray with 10 percent or less Deet.
-It’s better to spray on the clothing than directly on the skin.
-Avoid prolonged or excessive use.
-Wear protective clothing, and wash thoroughly.

By: Edward Burch


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