WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Experts say you are not imagining things — it’s a bad year for mosquitoes.
After so much summer rain, the Nassau County Health Department is noting an increase in the mosquito population. And researchers in Westchester are seeing the same thing.
In White Plains, Jonathan Sarro is spraying and trying every trick in a homeowner’s book — including citronella torches, citronella plants and a bucket of repellents — hoping to win the backyard battle with mosquitoes.
“I think they’ve increased from last year. Maybe because of all the rain we’ve had,” Sarro told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
Indeed, at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center, researchers are trapping and counting and finding an increase in the mosquito population.
That means more of us suffering from bites — when a protein in mosquito saliva causes your body to produce histamine.
“Histamines are what’s causing the inflammatory response and that’s what’s causing the itch. So you go at it simply because the skin is irritated,” mosquito expert Dr. Tom Daniel said.
Daniels says there are two main things you can do. Most important is eliminate standing water from your yard where mosquitoes breed.
And wear repellent with a chemical such as DEET or a botanical substitute such as oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Daniels is not a fan of so-called “bug bands” and says backyard spraying is only marginally effective.
“You get rain, a lot of the insecticide is washed away, and you don’t want to be putting insecticides out all the time,” Daniels said.
Also, to avoid mosquitoes at a backyard party wear light colored clothing, and avoid cologne perfume or heavily scented grooming products.
And mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so scheduling outdoor activities for midday is a good way to beat the biters.