Let’s be honest; the mosquito news out there is scary. With the recent report of a local case of another disease spread by the same mosquito that carries Zika in Central Texas, and the recent and plentiful rain visiting our area, to say that we’re on edge is an understatement. Add to this the recent proclamation by Austin Disease Ecologist and UT Professor, Sahotra Sarkar, that an outbreak of Zika is likely in Texas.

Protecting your family against mosquitos may well be your number one priority this summer. The easiest way to not get bitten is, of course, to never venture outside. Given that this is neither desirable nor realistic, we’ve got some tips on keeping those little buggers at bay.

Top Rated Skin-Repellent

The Aedes mosquito, also called the Asian Tiger mosquito, has a furious bite. According to the CDC, what makes the Aedes mosquito so insidious is that it loves to bite all day long, not just in the early morning and at dusk. This leaves intrepid outdoor lovers no choice but to douse themselves in insect repellent.

There are a wide-range of products out there, so how do you choose the right one for your family? Consumer Reports recently ranked the most effective products to protect against the Aedes mosquito Their top pick is Sawyer Picaridin, which has 30% Picaridin, a synthetic compound made to resemble a natural compound in plants that produce black pepper. This product has the added benefit of repelling Culex mosquitos which carry West Nile and also deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

Read Consumer Reports’ rankings.

Tips for Around the House

Outside of fogging your yard, which can be hazardous to your health and can also lead to repellent-resistant mosquitos, how do you keep your home mosquito-free? Mosquitos aren’t only a menace to your human family. Did you know that your furry friends are also top biting targets? Even birds are at risk!

According to Consumer Reports, here are some ways to prevent these pests from taking up residence where you live.

  • Make sure any place that can harbor murky water around your house is clean and dry: gutters, plant pots, swimming pool covers. When not in use, turn those flower pots upside down.
  • Make sure to cover your trash cans completely
  • Use LED or yellow light bulbs on your porch and around the perimeter of your house
  • Plug an oscillating fan in on high when you are using your deck

Read more tips from Consumer Reports.

Now that you are armed with new defenses against mosquitos get out there and have a wonderful, itch-free summer!

For more information on Zika in Texas, go to texaszika.org