In past years, mosquitoes were just a nuisance. But Zika virus is now a real threat to women who are expecting or just thinking of becoming pregnant.
And with Zika bearing mosquitos already spotted in Florida, and possibly heading north, we want to do everything we can to keep those pests away.
Worries About Going Outside
Annette Ahrens is a busy mom with another baby on the way. But while her kids love these hot summer days-- in her Loveland, Ohio backyard --she worries about mosquitoes.
"It's a little nerve wracking," she said.
Ahrens won't go outdoors without preparing. "I typically will lather up as a routine every morning when I get up, and spray myself with mosquito repellent."
She wants to know best way to fight these now frightening bugs. The good news: your local hardware store these days should have dozens of products to help you fight mosquitos.
Best Backyard Products
Kevin Johnson, of Ace Hardware's Hyde Park store, says backyard sprays from Cutter and Off -- that hook up to your hose -- are the hottest sellers.
"You spray it in the morning, a few hours before you will be outside, and it will kill the mosquitos that are around and also repel them for up to 12 weeks."
Johnson suggests complementing that with a fogger, which you spray right before heading outdoors, and citronella candles, which cover up the scent that draws them to you.
Finally, he says spray your arms and legs with repellent.
In its 2016 tests, Consumer Reports Magazine gives its top ratings to:
- Off Deep Woods
- Sawyer Picaridin
- Bens 30% Deet
It also says deet-based products are the most effective, but that several non-deet products (like Sawyer Picaridin) are almost as good nowadays.
But do you have any standing water in your yard, where mosquitos lay their eggs? Johnson showed us pellets that kill the larvae that can grow there.
"If you've got a spot like a rain barrel, gutters, or maybe a planter that water accumulates in, bird baths, you can put this in there and it will prevent mosquitos from breeding."
But if that's still not enough, consider hiring a company like "Mosquito Joe" or "Mosquito Squad," national franchises with locations in most cities.
They will do a more thorough spray, with a professional strength solution, for around $100.
You can also hire local pest control companies (like Scherzinger and Sure Thing in the Cincinnati area) for professional spraying.
Communities Setting Traps
Meantime, back home in Loveland, Ahrens wonders what's being done to check for Zika.
"Are we doing any regular testing on the mosquitos in the area to make sure they don't have the Zika virus?" she asked.
The good news is that health departments throughout the Cincinnati area, and Northern Kentucky, state have set up traps, looking for Aedes mosquitoes that can carry Zika.
So far, none have been found locally, which is great news for Ahrens and her kids.
As always, don't waste your money.