BDN interviews Dill for article about repelling mosquitoes

The Bangor Daily News interviewed Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for an article about repelling mosquitoes while working outside. “Mosquitoes are attracted to heat and carbon dioxide,” said Dill. “If you’re outside working doing something fairly strenuous, breathing fairly hard, that means you can attract more mosquitoes than if you’re sitting on your porch and sipping a cool drink.” Dill told the BDN that Maine has less diversity of mosquito species and not as many issues with mosquito-borne diseases as some other states, and that the population can vary each year depending on the amount of rainfall in the area. The most common mosquito repellents are made with diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin, according to Dill. He said natural repellents like lemongrass, citronella, lemon oil and eucalyptus also work, but need to be reapplied about every 30 minutes as opposed to every 2 hours for synthetic repellents. “They are easily removed through sweating. They work, but you have to keep applying it,” he said. Other natural remedies can have limited effectiveness and are not necessarily safer than synthetic repellents. For example, a 40 percent formulation of lemon and eucalyptus works but should not be applied on children less than 3 years of age, while a 15–20 percent concentration of oil of cloves repels mosquitoes but can burn your skin, according to the article. And, “If you ate enough garlic to repel mosquitoes you’re going to be repelling everyone else in the area too,” Dill said. Other ways to avoid mosquitoes include timing and covering up as much skin as possible. Dill recommends clothes made of tightly woven fabric, and in light colors since mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. He also recommends avoiding outside activities in the morning and evening, when mosquitoes are most active. And to discourage mosquitoes from being in your yard, removing standing water is essential. “If you’re a gardener and you use five-gallon plastic buckets, always empty those. Even bird baths, make sure you empty those at least once a week,” said Dill. “You have to try to convince your neighbors if you have a mosquito problem to do the same thing. If you’re the only one that’s doing it, it doesn’t help a lot.” WGME (Channel 13 in Portland) published the BDN article.