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Early start to mosquito season

Natalie Thomas, reporter
April 14, 2012 — Most experts agree that after the kind of winter we just had, mosquitoes are going to be out early this year.

Experts agree we'll be seeing mosquitoes earlier than usual this year
Experts agree we'll be seeing mosquitoes earlier than usual this year

All of the experts we spoke with agree: mosquitoes are going to be out early across the country this year. You can blame our mild winter.

"It's difficult for us to make any sort of long term forecast, because the population of mosquitoes is largely dependent on the weather," says Angela Richard of GDG Environment.  "What we can say is if we've had a mild winter, a relatively warm spring or an earlier spring, we can start to expect to see the mosquitoes a bit earlier."

As early as March this year there have been reports of mosquito sightings across the country.

"We do have spring mosquitoes and those are the ones that are hatching already, and they are well adapted to living in cold water," Richard told us. "Then they're gradually replaced by a species that is more adapted to living in warm water. And those are the summer species. And they're considered the worst of the nuisances because they prefer to feed on humans."

At this point, the summer bug population will largely be determined by how much rain we see. "We really do need to take precipitation into consideration," Richard warns. "More precipitation means more mosquitoes."

So now is the time to starting plotting your defensive strategy against the pests. There are many products available on the market to help us defend ourselves, and all-natural products are becoming more popular.

The amount of mosquitoes we see could depend largely on the amount of rain we get
The amount of mosquitoes we see could depend largely on the amount of rain we get

MOSQUITO-Less, for example, uses a food-grade garlic oil to repel mosquitoes. Bill Milne of Alex Milne Associates Ltd. says that no one is exactly sure why garlic oil works.

"It disturbs their antenna mechanism of the male finding the female," Milne told us. "And that's about as close people can come to what happens."

Milne recommends that you spray MOSQUITO-Less all over your property, including your trees, fences, grass and furniture. "You can spray your backyard or your cottage area, or people are even using it now for outdoor wedding events," Milne adds. "So you spray either with a hose sprayer, or you can use a garden pump sprayer. And once you spray the area, you can actually reclaim your backyard."

If you or your kids are more active, another all-natural product to try is the Insect Defend Patch which goes right on your skin. Its only ingredient is vitamin B1, which gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The B1 then comes out of your pores as you sweat. The more you sweat, the better.

"Mosquitoes land and they can sense the vitamin B1 in your dermal layer," says James Krane of Safety in Motion. "When we did our clinical trials, one of the things we noted back from the people was that the mosquitoes acted drunk. They didn't act normally."

Normally when a mosquito lands on a human, it bites within two to ten seconds. Krane says they were able to consistently measure bite delays of up to 640 percent.

"It crawls around because it can sense the B1 in your skin and it doesn't like it," Krane explains. "It crawls around and at the very least it gives you the chance to defend yourself."

Krane adds that the Insect Defend Patch is a bite-deterrent, not a repellent. He also says the Patch can stay on for 36 hours.

"You can swim, shower, it doesn't matter. It won't come off," Krane notes. "And that's really part of the effectiveness as well because in the summertime kids are in the water, out of the water.  You don't want to keep reapplying chemicals as they wash them off."

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