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MOSQUITOES How to beat; It's going to be a bumper summer for the whining itchy insects - yes, even at home! So wherever you're holidaying, take our advice and don't let the bugs bite.

This summer is set to a big one for mosquitoes, with ideal breeding conditions causing a plague of hungry blood-suckers ready to feast on us. According to bite prevention expert Howard Carter, 'The prolonged period of rain we experienced in June followed by hot temperatures in July have exacerbated the situation. When it was warmer earlier in the year, mosquitoes were able to come out of hibernation to breed. And we're now experiencing a feeding frenzy.'


1 Pick your clothes carefully Light-coloured clothing is best, because dark or bright colours attract the insects. Think white, khaki, beige and olive. And choose loose fabrics, says Howard: 'Tight clothing, like black leggings, won't protect you. Mosquitoes can and will bite through material - even quite thick ones like jeans.'

2 Double up on insect repellent Apply insect repellent before you dress, and be sure to do your ears, wrists and ankles. 'A lot of mosquitoes zero in on these areas where the skin is thinner and blood vessels are nearer the surface,' says Howard. But don't stop there. Spray your clothing as well using a natural spray (be careful with ones containing DEET, as they can discolour fabric and even destroy some synthetic materials, though they are usually fine on cotton).

He also recommends spraying around your door before going outside, as mosquitoes often lie in wait on doors and windows - this can help keep them out of your house. Incognito Insect Repellent, from PS5.99, is free from chemical pesticides DEET and Picaridin, and will protect you for up to four hours. If you prefer a DEET spray, our recommended pick is Jungle Formula, PS8.99, but pack it in a sealed separate bag, because if it leaks it can melt your passport (as we once discovered).

3 Get rid of standing water in your garden The British Pest Control Association, BPCA, recommends getting rid of any standing water in your garden, which is where mosquitoes breed. They only need a tiny amount - about a tablespoon - so it's not just open water butts or ponds. Even blocked drains or gutters, or saucers that catch water under plants can be enough. If you have a pond and you don't want to get rid of it, you could try adding mosquito-eating fish like goldfish or koi, or add a fountain or a pump to keep the water moving.

4 Don't smell too tempting Some people are just more appealing to mozzies - blood type O, for instance, is more attractive than blood type A. Also if you have a higher body temperature or metabolic rate, you're more likely to attract their attention. But there are still things you can do. 'Many people are experiencing more bites because they are making themselves irresistible with scented toiletries or fragrance,' says Howard. 'Some perfumes, such as lavender combinations, actually attract insects: just look at a lavender bush!' Drinking alcohol and exercising also make you smell lovely - at least to bugs - so wash nd r after a workout, but go for a lemon-scented shower gel and moisturiser instead of a floral one, and skip your flowery perfume. For a body moisturiser with hidden powers, Avon Skin So Soft Body Oil, PS3.50, is so effective it's been used by the Royal Marines to protect them from Scottish midges.

5 Burn citronella oil, not candles Ditch the candles, says Howard - even the citronella ones, as the carbon dioxide from the flames attracts bugs, counteracting the effects of the repelling scent. Instead, burn Java Citronella Oil, PS6.99, which is three times stronger than the regular stuff.


. Historically, mosquitoes in Europe have been annoying but not harmful. However, rising temperatures increase the risks from dangerous species in France, Spain and in the UK. The BPCA is particularly concerned about the Asian Tiger Mosquito, which can carry diseases like dengue fever, taking a hold here, after eggs and lava were found at two sites in the south east of England in 2016 and 2017. In France, it's already well-established.

. 'The Asian Tiger mosquito is one of the most aggressive of all the species and is only active during the day,' says Howard. 'It has a notoriously painful bite. These potentially deadly species are currently focussed in half of France, including the south and the greater Paris region, but experts forecast the whole country will be inundated by 2030. The situation has become so serious France is now running mosquito control campaigns. But it's not going well, and it seems the Asian Tiger is there to stay, so it's imperative British holidaymakers travel safe and protected in France.'

. Areas already used to disease-carrying mosquitoes, like South East Asia are facing new challenges too. A drug-resistant strain of malaria parasites is spreading. Up to 80% of the most common malaria parasites in parts of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia are now resistant to antimalarial drugs, leading to fears of them also colonizing in Africa.


FIRSTLY: DON'T SCRATCH. Part of the reaction to a bite is inflammation, and scratching just makes it more inflamed. Plus, you can open up the bite and cause it to become infected. But there are other ways you can stop the itch. Washing bites with soap and water, holding an ice cube on them or taking antihistamines can help. Howard also recommends the bite zappers that send a (very tiny) electrical impulse into the bite, inhibiting histamine release, which causes the swelling, thus reducing the inflammation (although we don't find them especially effective).
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Aug 4, 2019
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