Surviving the Swarm

By Beacon Staff

Everyone has their own methods for dealing with mosquitoes, many of which lean toward the obscure or downright odd. Some smear Vick’s VapoRub on themselves. Others stop eating bananas. A few years back, Avon’s Skin-So-Soft bath oil was the miracle cure. Applying Listerine or dryer sheets to the skin is the foolproof home remedy of late. But sadly, as tempting as it may be to think there is a secret mosquito repellant hidden in everyday consumer products, the best place to find something to deter mosquitoes is – unsurprisingly – in a can of mosquito repellant.

According to Snopes.com, a Web site dedicated to dispelling urban legends and rumors, no home remedy is as effective at avoiding mosquito bites as any repellant containing the chemical compound DEET, if used according to directions. Some home remedies are effective, but only for a brief amount of time. Oddly enough, exercise and drinking alcohol make you more attractive to mosquitoes.

To avoid mosquitoes, the Flathead County Health Department also recommends the following common-sense advice: Drain water from old birdbaths, tires and any other places where standing water provides prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting clothes when outside and mosquitoes are buzzing.

And finally, report any areas of standing or stagnant water from seasonal runoff, snowmelt, or irrigation run-off to the Flathead Mosquito Control District at 751-8145. The county’s mosquito control policy does not include spraying adult mosquito killer, but Flathead Mosquito Control Coordinator Bruce Gunderson recommends anyone who wants to take mosquito control into their own hands should stop into any reputable agricultural supplier in the area and find out how to use any mosquito treatment safely – while taking care not to dump chemicals into the valley’s waterways.