Many Nebraskans are finding it hard to enjoy the great outdoors this summer because of a boom in the mosquito population. Entomologist Ken Holscher says the best defense against the pest is a repellent containing DEET.
“I know there’s been some concern by some people over the years about whether or not using (DEET) can be harmful to you, so there are some newer products on the market,” Holscher said. “But they’re not any better than DEET and they might not be any safer.”
Some bug repellents contain high concentrations of DEET, but Holscher recommends using products with lower concentrations and reapplying throughout the day. He also advises people to use roll-on or squeeze-on applicators rather than aerosol sprays.
“I just think it makes better sense to apply those materials to the areas of the skin where it’s needed rather than just dousing yourself down with a spray can of that stuff,” Holscher said. Other tips include wearing pants and long-sleeve shirts and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitos are more active.
Many parts of Nebraska got heavy thunderstorms that led to flooding in recent weeks. Holscher says torrential downpours don’t necessarily mean more mosquitoes.
“A five inch rain in one hour isn’t going produce more mosquitoes than five one-inch rains spaced over the course of a month,” Holscher explained. “Mosquitoes develop in standing water and when you get a torrential rain, a lot of that flows off and stands in areas where it’s never stood before and it’s not going to produce many mosquitoes.”