Enjoy your outdoor living space without the fear of West Nile Virus
With the threat of West Nile virus — a disease spread by mosquitoes — being loudly declared in the media, we may wonder if it's safe to be outside this year. But spring and summer are seasons that we are meant to relish outdoors. Don't let the fear of West Nile virus keep you from enjoying a single day in your home's outdoor space. These eight easy and affordable tips will let you safely while away the warmer days in your own backyard.
- For good reason, mosquito netting is proving very popular this year, showing up in such colours as gold and purple. Choose one with a canopy center and drape it over a market umbrella. These are available now with water bag-weighted hems to keep the net firm to the ground. There are even custom-made nets for hammocks.
- If you have a porch or veranda, the ideal solution is to convert it to a screened-in area. Besides keeping out mosquitoes and other flying pests such as houseflies and wasps, a screened in porch stays cleaner and provides more security for children, pets and belongings.
- For a patio area or deck, consider a free-standing dining enclosure or gazebo with mesh sides. Many of these do not require pounding stakes into the ground, and are surprisingly affordable.
- Try to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes. The pesky critters are drawn to, and breed in, standing water. If you have bird baths or butterfly puddles, be sure to change the water regularly to prevent it from becoming stagnant.
- Many birds eat mosquitoes by the pound. Attract birds to your garden and enjoy the additional benefits of their beauty and song.
- Mosquito coils and citronella candles have some repellent effect and can be considered an extra tool in your arsenal.
- Remember that mosquitoes are most likely to bite at dusk and dawn. If possible, avoid being out of doors at those times.
- Perhaps most importantly, use a proven insect repellent. The U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends products containing DEET. DEET is the only product which has been found to be truly effective in repelling mosquitoes and it has been subjected to intense safety testing.
Use these tips and the mosquitoes won't keep you from enjoying your outdoor space this year!
About the AuthorDebbie Rodgers owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Visit her on the web at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on "Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space". Mail to debbie(at)paradiseporch.com