Don’t let mosquitoes make a nightmare of your summer | Leave it to Levy |

2022-06-04 02:10:37 By : Mr. Tracy Han

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The ‘Achilles Heel’ of summer, a mosquito in your bedroom at night can rob you of your sleep. (Pixabay)

Consumer Issues and Advice Columnist

The ‘Achilles Heel’ of summer, a mosquito in your bedroom at night can rob you of your sleep. (Pixabay)

It’s dusk, and you’re on your deck with a bottle of wine, some cheese, and tasty crackers, and you hear that annoying whine around your ears, which tells you the mosquitoes are out … and they’re out for blood, yours! It’s no surprise with all the recent drenching rainstorms, scorching temperatures, and high humidity, perfect mosquito breeding conditions.

If you didn’t know, besides the itching, mosquito bites can pass on serious possibly fatal diseases and viruses like malaria, dengue virus, Zika, West Nile virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

So what can you do? Here are results from my research about useful control products and information and advice from Dr. Gale Ridge, of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station:

•  Weekly reports: Monitor the Experiment Station website weekly for their reports on mosquito activity in Connecticut. Visit

The station has 108 mosquito traps operating statewide. Mosquito trapping and testing began on Tuesday May 31. Just prior no towns had West Nile or Eastern Equine Encephalitis activity.

•  Ineffective products: Forget about citronella candles for outdoor protection. Research published in the Journal of Insect Science found that because citronella candles burn straight up, they offer weak or no protection. Bracelets containing herbal extracts and sonic mosquito repellers, which use high-frequency sound, also are not effective, the researchers concluded.

•  Babies, young children: Cover strollers with mosquitoes netting and dress young children in long-sleeved light-weight clothing. Avoid having them outside at dusk.

•  Clothing: 0.5 percent permethrin applied to clothing kills and repels mosquitoes

Permethrin-treated clothing is also available and remains active after multiple washings.

Never apply permethrin directly to the skin.

•  Sprays and oils: Use only EPA-registered products and avoid using any oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under age 3.

Sprays: DEET, Picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535: Apply only on clothing.

•  Oils: Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), 2-undecanone.

Never apply these product directly to the skin or under clothing that is being worn.

Apply sunscreen first then insect repellent.

The research in the Journal of Insect Science found that up to one meter (3.3 feet) from where you’re sitting “DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus sprays reduced mosquito attraction by 60 percent. The only wearable device that worked was an OFF! clip-on fan containing the insecticide metofluthrin.”

Diffusers: Diffusers release a fine mist of oils and water into the air. Get oil diffusers containing geraniol and linalool.

•  Around homes: Larvicides in several forms can be dropped into larger standing bodies of water such as ornamental drain culverts, ditches with standing water, vernal pools,  ponds, other types of pools, or fountains etc. In moderately large ponds mosquito-eating fish can be introduced. The water needs to be deep enough to protect the fish from freezing during winter.

Once a week empty any small bodies of water found in tires, toys, birdbaths, potted plant saucers, trash receptacles etc. Fill in tree holes that might hold water and cover water barrels and cisterns with fine wire netting or mosquito netting to prevent female mosquitoes from laying their eggs on the water surfaces.

Thermacell Patio Shield mosquito repeller (covering a 15-foot radius). $36.70 (2-pack). Amazon.

Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus insect repellent. $4.70 from Amazon.

Lemon eucalyptus oil distilled in water. $8.99. Amazon.

Be prepared … and you can enjoy your wine and cheese deck-side.

Reach out to Harlan and let him know your questions, issues, and concerns as a consumer; send him an email at

Consumer Issues and Advice Columnist

Harlan was a full-time reporter and columnist for the JI from August 1997 to September 2017, after which he has continued to write weekly Consumer Diary and Leave it to Levy advice columns. Harlan graduated from Princeton University and NYU School of Law.

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