Tips offered for keeping bugs at bay

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mosquitoes and other flying pests are coming out in force this time of year, and people who will be outside need to take the necessary precautions.

     One reason to be on guard is that mosquitoes can carry and transmit the West Nile Virus.

      A human case of infection, the third in the state, was reported in Lincoln County earlier this month, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. In 2011, the state had 52 confirmed reports of the virus and five deaths related to it.

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     There are many products on the market that claim to keep mosquitoes away. But the best way to fight off the bugs may be things found around the home.

     Guy Buford, an entomologist for the Brookhaven area with the State Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry for 24 years, said fancy products to repel the pesky bugs are not necessary since simple sprays and candles will work.

     Jonathan Winborne, a service technician with Positive Pest Control in Brookhaven, said the best way to reduce problems with mosquitoes is by stopping them before they start.

     “You want to eliminate the breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” he said. “When water sits still that’s where mosquitoes will breed. They can breed in wheelbarrows or anything that will hold water. So try to eliminate anything that collects water around the home.”

     Buford pointed out products that clip to the waist that are supposed to make noise and keep the mosquitoes at bay. However, he does not think those work.

     “I found a product at (a) store in Magnolia that is a strip that repels mosquitoes,” Buford says. “The store had one that looked like a band that you wore on your arm. The guy there really believed in it, but I have not tried it yet.”

     Buford recommended using any product that contains DEET to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.

     “The mosquito repellant candles work great,” Buford added. “Citronella products work very well.”

     So far this summer, Buford said he’s seen more insects across the board, particularly wasps.

     “I’ve seen people on forums online complaining about the number of wasps and bees on their gardens and that they haven’t seen it this way in years,” he said.

     Until this week, the area had not experienced much rain in the past few months. The lack of rain is bad for crops and flowers, but good for reducing the number of insects, according to Buford.

     “Gardens and fields need more rain, but more rain will cause more insects,” Buford said.

     Winborne said he’s been busy fighting termites so far this year.

     “Spring is always a big time of year for termites,” said Winborne. “This is the time of year where they swarm. This year there’s been more than usual because winter was warmer than usual. We’re also fighting fleas again, but this year has been more than usual.”