What's the Deal: Keeping mosquitoes & other bugs away this summer

Credit: WLOS Staff

Record rainfall has led to standing water and breeding grounds for mosquitos and many other bugs. So, we wanted to find out what’s the best way to keep those pests. and the illnesses they travel with, away.

They aren't just an annoyance, they can cause serious illness, even death. That's why for years, people have been using citronella, eucalyptus and Deet to fight them.

CVS Health nurse practitioner, Nicki Gatton recommends using products with that all important Deet, "I recommend products that have Deet in them, because the Deet is going to be the effective ingredient. You do not want to use a product with Deet in it in a child less than two months of age and you do not want to use a product that has more than 30-percent Deet."

Which sounds scary, so people are looking for alternatives.

Claude Matkin, an REI Outdoor instructor says there are a lot of options out there, "one that we are not really familiar with and you'll see a lot of people starting to do it is picaridin and popular brand is Sawyer."

It’s an all-natural bug repellant that’s fairly new to the country, “Picaridin is new to the U.S. It has been in the UK and Australia since about 2005 it was lobbied to stay out of the us and was brought in in 2011 and has kind of taken over the bug world. It's a derivative of the pink peppercorn plant so the bug doesn't even land on you."

Matkin says it puts off a pepper fume and is available in several brands, "the nicest thing about this is it has the longevity of Deet and doesn't have nearly the amount of corrosiveness." Matkin says Deet actually damages a lot of outdoor gear, "the picaridin is not corrosive so it's not going to be harmful to your clothing, children or pup."

But nurse Gatton has a warning, "the studies do not show that the natural products are as effective as the products that use Deet."

No matter what you choose, there is a preferred method to apply it. "If you spray the tops of your shoulders and top of your head the amount of carbon monoxide you put out with stop the amount of bugs that swarm around your head," says Matkin.

Another option, treating your clothes, hammock or sleeping bag, " permethrin is by far one of the ways to go it comes in a smaller and larger bottle. The smaller does 2 to 3 garments. The larger will do four to six. It actually gives you a six week and 24 wash longevity to your clothing."

Don't want to put any chemicals on your body, try thermacell, "it creates a 15 by 15 foot zone so if this is set in the middle of your picnic table you literally have a zone 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide." Thermacell is popular with fisherman.

Another option, keep a barrier between you and the bugs. "One thing you can do is use mosquito net if you want to have an all-natural barrier," says Gatton.

If you're worried about Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, all things that the ticks can give us, try a tick key, "when you go to pinch off the tick or burn it off with a lighter or remove it with tweezers, essentially you are scaring him so what that's going to do is cause them to throw up the tick key goes over the head and slide it against and that will keep him from getting sick inside of you."

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