Summer Guide 2012
Published: June 20, 2012
Many news outlets have reported that this summer would be one of San Antonio's buggiest. This is a myth. While various insects are crawling (and flying) around the Alamo City, it remains no more buggy than past summers according to entomologist Molly Keck, pest management specialist at Texas AgriLife Extension in Bexar County. Until cooler weather returns to South Texas, Katydids, Red-eyed Devils, bees, and the usual gang of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes will take over with their usual massive offense. Here are a few steps you can take to defend against the invasion.
Homeopathic remedies: While your neighbor might swear by homeopathic remedie, Keck suggests good old-fashioned citronella candles, but warns that they are only effective when burned nearby.
Technological remedies: New iPhone apps like Mosquito Repellent, Sonic Repeller, and Bug Spray claim to repel mosquitoes by emitting a supersonic sound so high as to repel mosquitoes. What they fail to mention is that most of your kitchen appliances emit the same frequency, which is anything but supersonic. In short, the apps are about as effective as carrying your toaster around, which might be a new fashion statement, but doesn't repel anything. Keck notes that she has yet to see any conclusive evidence that the new belt clip-on repellers work at all, either.
Sprays: Most store-bought sprays like OFF! and Repel are effective, according to Keck. Make sure to spray in nooks and crannies, like behind your knees and inside your socks. Some households have installed pipes that spray the backyard with repellent once a day like sprinklers but are another waste of money. "They rarely kill any adults and leak toxins into the air," Keck said.
Pets: The most important way to prevent fleas and ticks is by treating your pets directly. Sprays and house treatments will be useless without ridding your pets of pests. "If you're encouraging wildlife, you're encouraging fleas," Keck says. So while it might be picturesque when a deer wanders in your backyard, fleas and ticks just wandered in too.