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'Tis the Season for West Nile

If NASA can send men into space, they certainly should be able to get rid of some bugs on earth. The Infrared Mosquito Killing Trap is, in part, a product of NASA technology, and is just now on the market through companies like Critter Control of Central Texas.

"It does not have any chemical attractants," said Jason Tatge of Critter Control. "What it does is attract the mosquitoes in the immediate area, which is basically a one acre area."

But for the most part, Don Plitt of the Brazos County Health Department says traps are a bad idea because they attract more mosquitoes than they can kill.

"Those that aren't trapped are going to be in your yard, and they're going to be interested in a meal at some point, which may be you," said Plitt.

The month of May marks the beginning of West Nile season. So far in Texas, cases of the disease have been hard to come by. Just two horses, six birds and three mosquito pools have been found to have the disease. The closest case to the Brazos Valley came in Harris County.

And if new technologies weren't enough in your fight against skeeters, there are newly approved products in repellents that could make things easier. DEET has always been a part of the 4-D defense, but you can add a P and an O to the possibilities. The EPA and CDC have approved repellents with picaridin, which is said to be as affective as DEET. And oil of lemon eucalyptus also makes the grade, but is recommended only for people older than the age of three. And of course, clearing standing water is a must.

"Birdbaths, flowerpots, tires, these are the specific places where the west nile mosquito breeds," said Plitt.

So whether it's a spray or space-age technology, "anything that can remove the mosquitoes from your immediate environment so you can enjoy your outdoors is vital," said Tatge.


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