The storm risk no one is talking about
How crazy is the weather these days?
Storms in the East, hurricanes in the South, and even surprise out-of-season rain here on the West Coast.
All that wet weather brings with it some unwelcome consequences -- and not just slippery roads and leaky roofs.
It also means mosquito season could extend well into autumn in many parts of the country.
In regions affected by Hurricane Harvey, the U.S. military has been dumping tons of bug-killing chemicals onto homes. Already, U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes have dropped insecticides onto nearly 2 million residential acres in the Houston area.
I'm not sure what's worse: the mosquitos... or an unwanted shower in pesticides!
The health authorities will tell you they're just trying to block disease, but the mosquitos that swarm after a weather event generally aren't the ones that carry West Nile, Zika, and other diseases.
That said, you certainly don't want these nasty critters hanging around. And if you've had a storm, hurricane, flood, or other kind wet weather, odds are they're going to be multiplying like crazy.
Let me give you three ways to take matters into your own hands and kill the bugs without turning to chemicals.
First, be aware of what local health officials and the military are planning and take action to minimize your exposure. When they're spraying, keep indoors, bring pets indoors, and bring inside or cover up anything you don't want to get doused.
Second, whether you get sprayed or not, scour your yard and do your best to eliminate mosquito-friendly conditions, especially any sources of standing water. This may be tough after a flood or storm, but a little landscaping work can often stop water from pooling.
Hire some help if necessary. A few dollars today can prevent irritation, itching, and even infection and disease down the road.
Be sure to clear storm drains in the streets around your home and work with your neighbors to do the same throughout the area. This will not only stop water from pooling in the streets, but it will also keep much of the water in the neighborhood flowing to those drains -- and mosquitos can't breed in flowing water.
And third, stock up on natural repellants.
Light some citronella torches and/or candles in your yard (especially in the evening) and use a chemical-free repellant on your clothing when you go out.
Instead of DEET-based sprays, I use Buzz Away. It's a blend of natural repellants including citronella oil and essential oils such as cedarwood, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass.