March 26, 2015

A little chemical warfare can help prevent ‘skeeter bites

skeeterThe first day of summer is Saturday and, as if on que, swarms of mosquitoes in Nebraska are becoming plentiful and aggressive.

Epidemiologist Deb Johnson says a combination of conditions are adding up just right for the flying pests.

“They tend to breed really well with a lot of rain and then long days of hot temperature,” Johnson says. While there are plenty of home remedies for keeping mosquitoes from biting, she says an insect repellant with the chemical DEET remains the best.

“What we usually recommend is at least 20 to 30% DEET,” Johnson says. “It can be effective against mosquitoes and ticks.” Various makers of bug sprays use varying mixes of chemicals and she says the label should stipulate how much DEET is inside.

“There’s a lot of different ranges out there, anywhere from less than 10% to 100% but usually if you use anywhere around 30%, that’s pretty good,” she says. “You really don’t need to go to 100% because you’re just overdosing yourself.”

Johnson recommends checking out the Environmental Protection Agency website for specific information on insect repellents, active ingredients, and how long certain products will last.