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MDARD offering tips for mosquito control

LANSING – With warmer summer weather finally here, Michiganders are urged to remember to take precautions against mosquitos, ticks and the diseases they carry. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is providing guidance for safely choosing and using insect repellants and insecticides.

Insect repellents applied to the skin are one of the most popular and effective products used to avoid insect bites. Other commonly used repellants include torches, table-top diffusers, candles and coils. When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women:

— DEET

— Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)

— IR3535

— Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)

— Para-menthane-diol (PMD)

— 2-undecanone

Larvicides and adulticides can also provide temporary control of mosquitos. Larvicides are products designed to be applied directly to water to control mosquito larvae. Adulticides are used in fogging and spraying to control adult mosquitoes. Both options can temporarily reduce the mosquito population in your area, but do not provide long-term solutions against mosquitos. Whether you use an insect repellent or insecticide, always remember to read and follow all label directions.

A safe alternative to applying insecticides yourself is hiring a mosquito control business. Mosquito control businesses are required to be licensed to apply pesticides in Michigan and must meet certain financial and experience requirements including proof of insurance, meet certain experience requirements, and employ certified pesticide applicators who have passed MDARD proficiency examinations. A list of Michigan firms licensed to apply pesticides is available online.

Other steps to take to safely reduce mosquito populations include:

— Removing any puddles of water or standing water around your home to reduce breeding sites.

— Keeping grass and shrubs trimmed short, reducing places for flying (adult) mosquitoes to rest.

— Using permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

More information is available online at Michigan.gov/MDARD.

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