Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mosquito Repellents

I hate mosquitoes - who doesn't?! Did you know that only females bite? They need blood (any blood) to lay their eggs - several hundred of them at a time! However, they don't eat blood to survive, but sugar - like plant nectar! Neat bit of trivia for ya!

If you live in South Louisiana (or ever vacationed here in the Summer, well hell - ANY time of the year really!), you know how bad the mosquitoes are right now. And if you have a bayou in your backyard, like we do, then you're going to have a few dozen 'skeeter bites before the Summer is over. Serenity has bites all down her arms and on her legs. When one gets her she says, "Mommy, bug bited me!". She sounds so cute, but awww, sha babe! My poor little girl!

The reason you're left with a big red welt after the female bites you, is 'cause she injects saliva to make it easier to draw blood - so it won't clot. UGH! How gross is that? It's also how they pass diseases to humans.

You just can't avoid them! You have to put something on when you go outside at night, even at certain times during the day. Around here, I've noticed they seem to be the worst first thing in the morning, right before and right after it gets dark. Don't ask me why, I have no clue!

So what's good for mosquitoes?

DEET-based repellents like OFF! and Ben's are supposed work, well - on most people. For some people, nothing works. Serenity tends to attract more of the blood suckers than I do. OFF! does work, but make sure you spray it all over, even over your clothes, 'cause if you miss a spot that's where you'll get bit! We forgot to put some on Serenity's face the night of the 4th, and she got a few bites on her forehead that instantly puffed up! I don't know about Ben's - I've never tried that kind.

I recently learned Zote is supposed to be good for 'skeeters, but I haven't tested it yet. It does have a mild citronella smell, so maybe! Citronella candles and oil are cheap and help with the 'skeeter problem a lot. We used to fill tiki torches with citronella oil and put up around the pool at night. It made a difference, but a few a those pesky buggers still got through.

I already knew that Avon's Skin So Soft body oil works (everyone knows that - my Mom used it on us kids in the 70's, back before Avon knew that little secret gem and jacked up the price!), but did you know that Victoria's Secret Amber Romance body spray is good too? My baby's sister's soon-to-be Father-in-Law uses it, she said they buy cases of the stuff!

Those new personal mosquito repellent gadgets, like ThermaCell and OFF! are "supposed" to work. I don't know about that. Seems like a lot of money to throw away, since nothing really protects you 100%. You could get the same results buying cheaper stuff. A bug light will help too, and I think every back yard should have one. But again, it won't kill all of them!

Terry bought a Black Flag propane fogger a few years ago. He mostly uses it if we have company and we'll be outside all day. It does work, but the effects don't last. But it's great to use if we want to keep mosquitoes away from our company! It's like having our own personal mosquito truck. For those of you not from South Louisiana, down here the State pays for a truck, equipped with this huge fogger, that drives by your house to help kill the mosquitoes. You always know when one is passing, 'cause the fogger makes this really loud sound. However, some areas are much luckier than others. Some areas, get a mosquito truck that drives by nice and slow doing a very thorough job - some even get the truck every evening, or more than once a week. Our truck? Well now, our truck sounds like a moped it moves so fast, and we're lucky if we see it once a month!

Terry also sprays the yard several times a year with some pretty powerful stuff he gets at our local feed store, South Louisiana Seed. It's called Martin's Permethrin 10% ($76.99/gallon), it's expensive but it does kill and control the population of all kinds of bugs - it's like an invisible barrier around your yard. Of course, it doesn't get all of them - what does? We do live right on the bayou! But there is a HUGE difference when Terry sprays this stuff and the effects usually last for about a month or more - it just all depends on rain, heat, etc.

Mosquitoes dunks are good for killing the eggs and larvae in still water - but can you imagine how many we'd have to buy for a huge bayou? Uh, I don't think so!

Basically, it's a combination of different things that helps with your mosquito problem. But nothing will completely get rid of those darn 'skeeters! To protect yourself from getting eaten alive every time you go outside, I've found that stuff applied directly to the skin or clothes will work the best - keep it simple! Save your money and don't buy the fancy, expensive "personal repellents"! As for protecting your yard, I think the Permethrin 10% is your best bet.

Here are a few things you can use on a mosquito bite:

Dermoplast Antibacterial Pain Relieving Spray
Bactine Pain Relieving Cleansing Spray
Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel
After Bite (I keep a tube of this in my purse)
Benadryl Itch Relief Stick (Small enough to fit in your purse)
Aveeno Anti-Itch Cream

I've tried all of them and they do work!

Have a GREAT Summer!

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