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Keep Bad Bugs At Bay

2013 June 13

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By Lina Younes
During the summer months, we enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends. We actively seek opportunities to have fun in open areas. Whether it’s gardening in our backyard, swimming at the local pool, or taking a stroll at a nearby park, we will likely encounter some small creatures that are even more active than us during this time of year. What creatures am I referring to exactly? Bad bugs, those that feast on humans and animals and may spread diseases. Whether they are ticks, fleas, or mosquitoes, you should take simple steps to keep these bugs at a distance to avoid getting bitten.

In the case of mosquitoes, there is one thing you should do around the home to eliminate mosquito habitats. Get rid of standing water!  Mosquitoes need still water to lay their eggs and develop. In fact three stages of their live cycle occur in water! So without water, they cannot grow and multiply! Look around your home to find objects where water can accumulate, such as buckets, plastic toys, bird baths, wading pools even potted plant trays. If you have a bird bath in your back yard, clean it frequently. Don’t let the water rest for more than 3 days. Remember, mosquitoes only need a very small quantity of water to lay their eggs and thrive.

As a virtual “mosquito magnet,” I know that during the summer I have to stock up on insect repellents as much as sunscreen! Given the fact that mosquitoes find me anywhere I go, I have to apply insect repellents  frequently to avoid being bitten. As with any type of pesticide and insect repellent, you should read the label first and follow the instructions carefully to protect your family and stay safe.

If you are travelling in the U.S. or abroad, visit the CDC website for any travel advisories with destination-specific information for any outbreaks or other health-related issues. And especially if you are traveling, don’t bring some unwanted hitchhiking guests like bedbugs back home! While bed bugs do not transmit diseases, they are definitely an annoyance. So follow some tips to keep them at bay.

Do you have any tips you would like to share with us?

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. benajmin teitelbaum permalink
    June 13, 2013

    Gracias Lina

  2. Edgars Apalais permalink
    June 13, 2013

    This is excellent post.

  3. Lina-EPA permalink*
    June 13, 2013

    De nada, saludos,

  4. Lina-EPA permalink
    June 15, 2013

    Thanks for your comments,

  5. Richard Pouzar permalink
    July 10, 2014

    On our farm, we mix up our own batch of insect repellent using essential oils for use on ourselves and our animals. The EPA’s list of approved inert ingredients for minimum risk insect repellents has helped keep our mixes safe. One thing that’s odd, though, is that in order to get the oils to mix better with the main ingredient (water), a good cheap emulsifier is helpful. Witch hazel fits the bill, but the EPA doesn’t include witch hazel in its InertFinder. Can you tell me why, since this is a natural product that’s been approved for over the counter sales?

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