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A mosquito biting a finger

Mosquitoes are drawn to fluorescent or incandescent lights, as well as dark and red clothing.

Beyond slapping: fend off the mozzies

From eNews, July 24, 2008

Mosquito numbers are up in Minnesota this year, according to the Twin Cities Metropolitan Mosquito Control District, but the bloodsuckers don't have to spoil your summer evenings. Entomologist Jeff Hahn of University of Minnesota Extension has some suggestions that may help you reduce the mosquito or mozzie (Australian slang for mosquito) problem near your home.

Mosquitoes can develop in a matter of days in the middle of the summer. But they can take weeks in cold weather. Hahn says spraying for mosquitoes by individual homeowners is not likely to be very effective or practical because it affects only small areas.

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has already treated thousands of acres of mosquito breeding sites in the Twin Cities area to keep as many larval mosquitoes as possible from developing into biting adults. (The mosquito control using ground vehicles and backpacks usually begins in mid- to late May and continues through September.) "Mosquitoes are most active early in the morning and at dusk," says Hahn. "Try to avoid going out at those times when possible. If you find yourself out when mosquitoes will be a problem, protect yourself by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants."

He also suggests using a repellent, and says DEET is the most effective. He says to apply DEET to clothes or skin, but only enough to lightly cover the desired areas. "Do not over-apply repellents," he cautions. "Do not treat children with a product containing more than 15 percent DEET, and always read product information thoroughly before using."

Click here for information about West Nile virus from the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District offers free e-mail alerts to residents of the seven-county metro area. You can sign up to be notified of when and where adult mosquito control treatments will occur in your county.