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 RACINE, Wi., June 15 /PRNewswire/ - Millions of Americans leave protection from mosquitoes, ticks and other biting bugs to chance by relying on home remedies, a leading entomologist says. "Eating garlic, dosing up on vitamin B or putting bath oil on your skin does not provide acceptable protection," says Dr. Richard Merritt, medical entomologist, and professor with Michigan State University.
 "Read the label. If the product isn't registered by the E.P.A. as a repellent, you're not adequately protected." OFF!(R) Skintastic(TM), Deep Woods OFF!(R) and other popular brands carry this E.P.A. registration.
 "While people continue to place blind faith in home remedy solutions and electronic gadgets, entomology field studies show them to be largely ineffective," says Merritt.
 Studies on several bug zappers, popular fixtures in many back yards, show only a small percentage of the bugs electrocuted are mosquitoes. "The snap, crackle and pop noise may offer psychological comfort," says Merritt, "but the device is not an effective repellent."
 Bath oil hasn't fared very well in testing either. According to Merritt field studies on a commonly used bath oil have shown it wards off significantly fewer mosquitoes than approved repellents do.
 Effective protection against biting bugs starts with an E.P.A registered repellent and a few simple defensive strategies, says Dr. Daniel Lawson, Research Entomologist at the OFF! Biting Insect Center.
 "Avoid HIGHLY SCENTED colognes, aftershaves, body lotion and even fragrant shampoos, which can attract bugs," he says.
 He also points out there's a lot you can do in your own back yard to reduce biting bug populations. "If your property seems to be laden with an above average number of mosquitoes, it may be prudent to check for favorite nesting areas," he explains.
 Bird baths, obstructed eavestrough and assorted household junk make ideal mosquito larvae habitat. Even fruit husks and bottle caps can collect enough water for egg development.
 "It's also important to know that different repellent types are more appropriate for different outdoor situations," says Lawson. "When heading into a heavily infested area, it stands to reason that you need a different repellent than you'd use for a back yard barbecue."
 If mosquitoes, gnats or black flies are out in full force, or in high incidence tick regions, Lawson recommends maximum protection repellents such as Deep Woods OFF! Where bugs are less severe, a lower strength repellent is a better solution. A relative newcomer to the repellent arena, OFF! Skintastic has a pleasant mild scent, all the attributes of a skin lotion, but, Lawson says, it still packs a powerful repellent punch that keeps biting bugs away for up to two hours.
 Proper application is also a must. Applying a spotty coverage of repellent, leaving some areas of your skin exposed, is an open invitation to get bitten in the untreated area. The key to maximum protection is a thorough -- but not heavy -- coverage. When the bugs start getting bolder it's time to re-apply.
 -- Bug Trivia --
 -- mosquitoes don't fly off and die after they bite. Throughout
 its lifetime, it may bite up to six times.
 -- some species are noted for remarkable longevity, with females
 living for five months or more.
 -- the whine of a mosquito is made by its wings fluttering up to
 600 times a second
 -- they can sense a person from up to 45 feet, and are attracted
 primarily by heat, light, moisture and carbon dioxide.
 Black Flies
 -- vision plays a key role in black flies' `human tracking'
 ability. Carbon dioxide is also an attractant.
 -- black flies become claustrophobic in enclosed areas (homes,
 tents, cars, etc.)
 -- they can't bite through blue jeans, but are noted for crawling
 through small openings in clothing.
 Sand Gnats
 -- tiny flies noted for gathering in clouds over victims' heads.
 -- despite their almost transparent size, they carry a very
 painful bite.
 -- they are most active during twilight and early evening --
 strong attraction to artificial light.
 -- their wings beat 133,000 times per minute, 100 times faster
 than the blink of a human eye.
 -- ticks are the vector of Lyme Disease -- almost 10,000 cases in
 1992, a 19-fold increase since the early 1980's when the CDC
 began tracking the disease.
 -- ticks have incredible reproductive potential -- some species
 lay as many as 18,000 eggs.
 -- ticks are relatively free of natural enemies, yet most are the
 size of a sesame seed.
 -0- 6/15/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Dr. Richard Merritt, professor-medical entomologist of Michigan State University, and Dr. Dan Lawson, research entomologist of OFF! Biting Insect Center are both available for interviews/
 /CONTACT: Gary Holloway or Stephanie Sadler-Guthrie, 416-828-2404, both for SC Johnson Wax/

CO: SC Johnson Wax ST: Wisconsin IN: SU:

TM -- NYFNS2 -- 1914 06/15/93 07:31 EDT
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Date:Jun 15, 1993

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