Grab your repellent, because mosquitoes are on their way

  • Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or the more rare IR3535, while not foolproof, offer the best individual protection against mosquitoes, experts say

    Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or the more rare IR3535, while not foolproof, offer the best individual protection against mosquitoes, experts say Getty Images

 
 
Updated 5/31/2019 9:20 AM

Mosquitoes are on their way.

Lots and lots of mosquitoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The good news is that entomologists agree the pests' path is pretty predictable, given that this month's rainfall level is up just slightly from last year at this time.

All indications are that the typical flood, or nuisance, mosquitoes should be harassing us within the next two weeks.

"This year is easier to predict since last year was the (previous) wettest May on record. We don't have to look to sift through too much historical data to see what's coming," said George Balis, an entomologist with St. Charles-based Clarke mosquito control. "We're going to see a large hatch of mosquitoes in the next 10 to 14 days or so, and it's going to cause the month of June, and many Father's Day events, to be visited by large numbers of mosquitoes."

The only reprieve we may get is if the weather stays on the cooler side.

"These insects are coldblooded, so the cooler it is, the slower they develop," said Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer. "They'll eventually be there, but they may not be in the same numbers."

Experts agree, however, that the best way to protect yourself and be more comfortable outside is to eliminate standing water, whether it be pooling in a low spot of your yard, collecting in a gardening pail or sitting stagnant in a clogged gutter.

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Hartzer also suggests trimming bushes that provide shaded resting places for mosquitoes and keeping any nectar-producing flowers, which attract male mosquitoes, away from your sitting areas.

Balis said repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or the more rare IR3535, while not foolproof, offer the best individual protection.

"I can't help but laugh when I'm somewhere and someone complains about the mosquitoes and they're not wearing repellent," he said. "Any kind of repellent is going to be better than free, bare skin."

Ticks, however, live on a two-year life cycle and are affected by last year's moisture and this year's rainfall.

Hartzer said they're staying low in the high grass, meaning the best way to prevent them is to tuck your pants into your socks in addition to wearing repellent.

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