Warm weather is just around the corner, and that means mosquito season is not far behind. These pests can be a real nuisance! Worse yet, in some cases, mosquito bites can even make you sick. Below, we’ll look at some of the diseases carried by mosquitoes and then we’ll offer our picks for the very best mosquito repellents. WHY SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT MOSQUITOES? Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance. They can carry diseases that can affect you and your family. In the Corpus Christi area, the biggest concern for mosquitoes is the West Nile virus, with July 2015 marking the first confirmed cases in the area. Lately, the media has also been reporting on the Zika virus, which has spread to Brazil and may be causing microcephaly, a birth defect that affects the development of an infant’s brain. The good news is that while there have been a dozen cases of Zika reported in Texas, all cases appear to be individuals who contracted the disease outside the US. The Best Mosquito Repellants Knowing that mosquitoes carry diseases, the best way to fight back is to choose a good insect repellent and use it properly. In our research, we’ve found that the best mosquito repellents are those that include the ingredients DEET, lemon-eucalyptus oil, or picaridin, a synthesized version of the chemical found in the black pepper plant. Here are our picks for the best mosquito repellents: DEET-BASED REPELLENTS Scientific studies have shown that products containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) are generally the most efficient at repelling mosquitoes, and also tend to be the longest lasting, meaning you have to apply them less frequently. While there have been some concerns about DEET, the Environmental Protection Agency considers DEET to be safe when used as directed, though it recommends avoiding its use on small infants. Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Pediatrics further recommend not using any products with a concentration exceeding 30% DEET. WE RECOMMEND THESE DEET-BASED REPELLENTS: Off Deep Woods Sportsmen II; contains 30% DEET Coleman High & Dry insect repellent; 25% DEET Cutter Backwoods Unscented; 23% DEET Off FamilyCare Smooth & Dry; 15% DEET 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellant 8; 25% DEET Cutter Skinsations Clean Fresh Scent; 7% DEET OFF Deep Woods insect repellent VIII; 25% DEET NON-DEET REPELLENTS Many families prefer to avoid DEET for health and safety reasons. Two newer active ingredients in insect repellents that are nearly as effective include picaridin, a synthesized formula similar to the chemical found in black pepper plants, and the oil from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree. *Warning: The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend that you use products with lemon eucalyptus on children under the age of three. WE RECOMMEND THESE NON-DEET REPELLENTS: Avon’s Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Anti-Itch Spray Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus; active ingredient oil of lemon eucalyptus Natrapel 8-Hour with picaridin; 20% picaridin Bite Blocker Xtreme (organic) Cutter’s lemon eucalyptus insect repellent BE SURE TO USE REPELLENTS SAFELY! Insect repellents, like sunscreen, are only effective when applied correctly. You can ensure safe skin exposure to repellents by following the label instructions that come with the package of repellent. Labels tell you how much repellent to apply and how often you need to reapply to keep mosquitoes away. Never use insect repellant on wounds or irritated skin Do not apply near eyes, nose or mouth, and do not spray onto face. Instead, either use creams or spray the mist onto your hands to apply to face and neck. Do not spray repellents in enclosed spaces. Open a window or go outdoors. Avoid breathing the mist and make sure your kids cover their eyes and mouths while being sprayed with repellent. Apply to exposed skin and clothing only. WHERE CAN I FIND REPELLANTS IN THE San Antonio AREA? Many local retailers, including Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, and Academy Sports + Outdoors, will carry a broad range of mosquito repellents for yourself and your property. Sporting goods stores, retailers for camping and outdoors activities, and home and garden stores will also carry repellents suitable for specialized activities. OTHER WAYS TO KEEP MOSQUITOES FROM BITING In addition to applying personal repellants on yourself and your children, here are a few other tips: When camping or enjoying an evening on the patio, use natural mosquito repellents such as citronella candles and torches to keep mosquitoes away from you and your family. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by removing sources of standing water and keep your lawn mowed and your bushes trimmed. And if you have a significant insect problem and need to kill mosquitoes or find where they may be breeding, call out our professionals at Preston Pest Control for more assistance. We offer a misting system that kills mosquitoes and will keep you and your family safe.