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Mosquitoes are nasty creatures. They bite; they transmit terrible diseases to people and pets; and from what I read, they have no redeeming value in the ecosystem.

Malaria infected some 212 million people worldwide in 2016, and killed an estimated 429,000. Mosquitoes spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus and West Nile virus.

If that's not reason enough to hate them, they can turn a beautiful backyard, deck or patio into a nightmare area not fit for humans during their peak season. But it doesn't have to be that way, provided you are diligent to take control of your home and property.

Mosquito trap. When I discovered we'd be dealing with mosquitoes here in northern Colorado, my research knew no bounds and led to purchasing a Dynatrap, available online and in home improvement centers and discount warehouse clubs like Costco.

This insect trap is engineered for three-way protection. First, a fluorescent UV bulb generates a warm light, attracting insects.

Then, a second lure, an exclusive titanium dioxide-coated surface, produces harmless CO2, which mosquitoes find irresistible (no wonder they love you so much -- you emit CO2, too).

Third, a powerful, whisper-quiet vacuum fan sucks insects into the retaining cage, where they dehydrate and die.

Every few weeks I empty my mosquito morgue -- I mean trap. A full trap is proof positive that this thing is very effective. Dynatrap is definitely not a bug zapper. No sizzle noises, odors or other annoyances. I give Dynatrap two thumbs up and five stars.

Commercial repellent. It is important to make sure mosquito repellent is applied to any exposed skin during mosquito season. Repellents that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 are the most effective at warding off mosquitoes. At the height of the Zika virus threat, pregnant women especially were recommended to choose a repellent with Deet. Health officials say Sawyer Picaridin, Natrapel 8 Hour and Off! Deep Woods VIII are the best at keeping the bugs at bay.

Natural homemade repellent. Mix 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil to 10 parts witch hazel. Rub or spray on skin.

Planted lavender. It's easy to grow; it produces a beautiful flower; and it smells fantastic! Even better: Mosquitoes hate it and will stay away from it.

No standing water. This is where mosquitoes breed in the thousands. Birdbaths, fishponds, puddles and even flowerpot drip trays and dog dishes are prime breeding grounds.

Empty or drain as much water as possible. If you can't drain a water source, try pouring a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil on top to deny access to mosquitoes and larvae. Note: Do not pour vegetable oil into fishponds; it inhibits oxygen flow and can kill the fish.

Clean yard. Keep your yard clean and your vegetation under control. Mosquitoes prefer densely vegetated areas where they are protected from sun, wind and rain. Keep your lawn well-trimmed, and clear out piles of brush where moisture can accumulate. Rake up leaves, and dispose of them when they start accumulating.

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mary@everydaycheapskate.com|Everyday Cheapskate, Box 2099 Cypress, CA 90630

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