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Mosquitoes - Personal Protection

Protection from Mosquito Bites


West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness. While the risk of contracting West Nile virus is relatively low compared to other health risks such as influenza and food borne illness, taking steps to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites is prudent.

Personal Protection

According to the Washington State Department of Health, the best way to protect yourself and your family from West Nile virus is "to avoid mosquito bites and reduce the places mosquitoes live and breed around your home."

Avoid Mosquitoes

  • Check that your window and door screens are "bug tight." Repair or replace if needed.
  • Avoid places where there are many mosquitoes.
  • Don't plan outdoor activities during times when mosquito activity is high.
  • If you go to places with lots of mosquitoes, wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants. Head nets can also be helpful.
  • Replace outdoor lighting with yellow "bug" lights.


Reduce Mosquito Breeding Places: Home & Community

  • Remove, turn over, or cover any container that can hold water, such as tin cans, buckets, ceramic pots, plastic covers, and toys.
  • Store unused tires inside a garage or shed, or drill drainage holes in them.
  • Change water often (at least once a week) in birdbaths, fountains, wading pools, potted plant trays, and watering troughs.
  • Keep water off swimming pool covers. Maintain water quality in the pool. Drain wading pools regularly.
  • Make sure roof gutters are draining properly. Clean any debris out once a year.
  • Drain (or fill with dirt) unneeded or unwanted pools or puddles.
  • Clear obstructions to promote flow of water in catch basins and storm drains
  • Fill tree holes with sand or mortar.
  • Avoid over irrigation of your lawn.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.



When mosquito populations are high, most people will consider using mosquito repellents. Use the information below to make an informed choice.

DEET Alternatives Considered to be Effective Mosquito Repellents American Academy of Pediatrics News (June 2005)

Insect Repellent Use and Safety Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (August 3, 2005)



Lemon Eucalyptus Oil (p-Menthane-3,8-diol)

Soybean Oil & Lemon Eucalyptus Oil & Citronella & Geraniol

What About Catnip Oil?

  • Recent research has shown that catnip oil may be an effective mosquito repellent. Although it's easy to find catnip oil in products advertised as mosquito repellents, the EPA has not yet registered ANY catnip oil repellents. In addition, these products do no meet EPA's requirements for 25b Minimum Risk Pesticides that are exempt from registration.