Bug Spray Kills Bugs. Most people don’t realize this is the hard biological fact. Pest control ads touting use of “eco-products” perpetuate assumptions that aerial sprayed chemicals only target insect “pests.” As advocates for native plants and insects, we have the knowledge and the will to educate others about mosquito abatement methods that don’t harm the ecosystem we work to enhance. A personal focus on effective, strategic You-Can-Do is a powerful and healthy place to start.
Is there a niche for chemical control of mosquitos? Yes, but NOT the silver bullet Fogging Truck or hired Mosquito Guy. We need Eco-Logic to inform and direct our chemical powers, to protect the health of pollinators, people and plants. Our communities can save a lot of money too.
Priority One: Strategic personal shields
Spray stuff where you most want a barrier to biting mosquitoes: on yourself. Today’s range of repellants offer child-mild to super-strong protection. Do you know how personal repellants work?
Mosquitos are attracted by the CO2 we respire through our skin. Visualize this as a purple cloud, your personal CO2 aura. Every body’s chemistry is different. Some of us are palest mauve, barely visible to
mosquitos. Others are day-glow violet, flagging hungry mamas in to nourish eggs with a blood meal. Mosquito repellant masks this aura of CO2. Key to success is testing and using the repellant that works for you.
The intense synthetic chemical mask from DEET was a military innovation to protect U.S. troops in mosquito-infested tropics. For years, DEET was the only repellant recommended by U.S. EPA, though cautions came with the thumbs-up. DEET may be your repellant of choice for a deep woods or jungle expedition, or if you’re an ultra-violet beam of CO2.
Milder chemical camouflage can come from active ingredients EPA now also recommends, including some directly obtained from plants. For example:
- Catnip Oil – a 2011 University of Iowa study found that Nepetalactone, a substance in Catnip (Nepeta cateria, in the super-scented mint family, Lamiaceae), is as or more effective a repellant than DEET. Imagine this plant’s aroma cloaking your CO2 – as it lures your cat.