Beat the Bite: Keep Mosquitoes Away This Summer

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By Fox 8 News Reporter Autumn Ziemba

CUYAHOGA COUNTY — Let the scratching begin. Cleveland is on the cusp of summer, and that means parks, picnics, and the inevitable pest.

Experts are looking at what could be one of the worst seasons for mosquitoes and ticks in recent years.

"Mosquito activity started earlier this year,” explains Joe Lynch with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. “We had a record warm March and that got mosquitoes out of the water sooner."

Earlier breeding means earlier bug bites. That’s why Lynch is encouraging people to check their property for standing water. That includes bird baths, buckets, old tires, leaky faucets and clogged gutters.

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend means lots of people will be outdoors, and Lynch says using a bug repellant with DEET is the best option.

But for those who are more comfortable with a more natural solution, there are options.

"Mother's Day weekend, we were sitting outside trying to enjoy the patio, and we were just swatting [mosquitoes] away," says Cleveland Heights mother-of-two Jessica Zuik.  With two young kids and a very active dog, bug bites are a concern, Zuik says, but so is the idea of a chemical pesticide.

"The sprays, they're not always convenient.  I don't want to be spraying my children down with DEET sprays or any sort of insect repellant all day long," she explains.

Zuik found an eco-friendly alternative in garlic.

Good Nature Organic Lawn Care sprays a mixture of garlic to keep bugs at bay, the company says, for up to six months.

Employee Larry Brochu says with mosquitoes nearing full force this early in the season, business is buzzing.

"This year, I'm getting more and more people who are concerned because mosquitoes do transmit not only West Nile, but equine encephalitis and a couple other [diseases] that I can't even pronounce."

The risk is real.

But Lynch says if you really want to beat the bite, your best bet might be to spend dusk and dawn indoors.