his post was written as a partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). However, the opinions expressed are my own.
Our family enjoys being outside day or night when the weather is nice. However, we have a fairly lengthy mosquito season in Texas, from early spring, throughout the summer, and well into fall. These little nuisances can make an evening event outdoors uncomfortable for both us and our dog. The itchy bites are bothersome. But, mosquitoes can also transmit a variety of diseases, such as West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, and Chikungunya Virus.
This summer we hope to be able to host outdoor movie nights. These are really fun for the kids and adults alike. Movie nights have become a really popular way to entertain. They are affordable and they get everyone out of the house and away from electronic devices for a couple of hours.
The issue of the mosquitoes always needs to be addressed prior to a movie night. We actually need to declare WAR on the pests so our night is not ruined. I am not talking about bombing the back yard with toxic pesticides. WAR stands for three simple things we and our guests can do to minimize bites from mosquitoes.
W = Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
A = Apply EPA approved insect repellents.
R = Remove sources of standing water that attract insects.
Wearing protective clothing is one of the simplest and safest ways to prevent mosquito bites. But, it really should be substantial. Mosquitoes can bite through thin or tight clothing, such as leggings. Heavier, looser fitting clothes may be better. Tucking pants into socks can also help.
Applying insect repellents to clothing and skin is another easy thing to do, so we keep EPA approved repellents on hand. We also find that essential oils that deter insects can be diluted and placed on bare skin if it is just too hot outside for long pants or long sleeves.
Removing any sources of standing water is necessary. Standing or still water is a major attraction for mosquitoes. Water can collect in gutters, flower pots, wading pools, pet bowls, and even depressions in a lawn. It is really prudent to empty these out before inviting friends and family over for an outdoor party.