Prevent Mosquito Bites to Reduce Chances of West Nile Virus

BALTIMORE, July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The summer mosquito season is in full force, and as the weather heats up and summer rains fall, mosquitoes are at their peak season of breeding. The greater the mosquito population, the more chances there are of getting bitten by the bothersome, disease-carrying pests. So the heat of summertime is the perfect time to remember the Four D’s of mosquito bite prevention.

“Exposure to mosquitoes increases the risk of painful mosquito bites and the risk of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases,” says mosquito expert Jonathan Cohen, President of Summit Responsible Solutions. “Because mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, and because every state in the continental USA has reported cases of West Nile virus during the past two years, it’s important to avoid being bitten at all.”

Whether gardening, walking, golfing, fishing, or just relaxing outdoors, everyone should take these simple steps to prevent bites and protect themselves from West Nile virus and other diseases.

The Four D’s of Mosquito Bite Prevention
To reduce the chances of getting bitten by a mosquito, follow these tips:

  • Drain it— Any container that can hold water for more than a few days is a prime mosquito-breeding area. Drain kids’ swimming pools, wheelbarrows, old tires, plant saucers and buckets. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths every few days.
  • Where standing water cannot be eliminated—including ditches, ponds and fountains—treat the water with Mosquito Dunks®. The BTI in Mosquito Dunks® kills mosquito larvae but is harmless to other living things including people, pets, birds, fish and other wildlife. Mosquito Dunks® are available at garden centers, hardware stores and home centers nationwide. For more information visit
  • Dress smart– Clothing is an excellent barrier between you and a mosquito. Wear long sleeves and pants to prevent mosquito bites on arms and legs. Wearing a hat will also help prevent mosquito bites.
  • Dawn and Dusk– Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are at their peak biting activities. Mosquitoes are attracted to movement, so if you must be outdoors during the peak dawn and dusk times, try to reduce your physical activity.
  • Deter—Use mosquito repellents to deter mosquitoes and keep them away. Insect repellents that contain DEET have been proven to repel mosquitoes. Other products, such as natural essential oils of citronella and lavender, also repel mosquitoes.
  • “Knowing a little bit about mosquitoes can help prevent painful and potentially dangerous mosquito bites,” says Cohen. “Knowing that female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and draining standing water is a key to keeping mosquito populations down. Avoiding contact with mosquitoes whenever possible will also greatly reduce the chances of getting bitten.”

What is BTI and how does it kill mosquitoes?

BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) is a naturally occurring bacterium that is deadly to mosquito larvae but harmless to other living things. The bacterium is nature’s way of keeping mosquito populations down, but it has no effect on other insects (including bees and butterflies)—nor does it harm animals, fish, birds, people or plants.

How BTI works

When female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water treated with BTI, the mosquito larvae will hatch and begin to eat the BTI spore. BTI kills the mosquito larvae before they become flying, biting adults.

BTI is the active ingredient in Mosquito Dunks®, the top- selling biological mosquito control. One Mosquito Dunk® will effectively treat 100 square feet of surface water for about 30 days. Mosquito Dunks® are approved for use in organic production, in animal watering troughs and fish habitats.

BTI vs. chemical controls

Chemical-based mosquito killers are typically not target specific, and therefore kill all kinds of insects—even beneficial insects and honey bees. Even natural insecticides such as Spinosad are not target specific, so they kill many kinds of insects indiscriminately.

Also, scientific studies show that insects develop a resistance to chemical insecticides, which makes the chemicals less and less effective over time. However, mosquitoes do not develop a resistance to BTI, so year after year BTI remains an effective way to kill mosquito larvae.