Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Every birder is at least some of the time in an area that mosquitos enjoy. The prime time for mosquitoes to be out - dawn and dusk - are also prime times for birding.
Here are some tips to keep yourself safe from bites and from the West Nile Virus. Note that many of these tips also help with ticks and Lyme disease, and with general bug problems.
* Avoid swampy areas if you can.
* If you're in a swampy area, try to avoid being there at dawn or dusk.
* Wear long, heavy pants and shirts.
* Tuck your pants into your boots.
* Wear light colored clothing so ticks and bugs show up easily.
* Spray pesticides on your clothing (NOT on your skin).
Don't Be a Mosquito Breeding Ground
One of the primary tasks of a birder should be to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the first place. Birders usually have at least one birdbath for their feathered friends, if not more. That puts a responsibility on you. Be sure that you don't allow standing water near your home. Standing water would allow mosquitoes to breed.
Add a fountain or drip system to your birdbath. There are many solar powered fountains nowadays, and a garden hose can be set up to spray or drip a low current into the water to keep it moving. You can also hang a soda bottle, capped, over the fountain with a small hole allowing just drips to come out.
Replacing your lights with yellow lights and using citronella candles and torches can help drive the mosquitoes away from your immediate area, but they will simply go elsewhere to attack birds and humans. So your most proactive means of helping with the current panic would be to ensure that any and all breeding waters within your control are taken care of.
Anti Mosquito Information
West Nile Virus Information