Battle against West Nile: Fight back with bug spray, fans

WASHINGTON – It’s a war out there – a battle against the mosquitoes carrying the dreaded West Nile virus.

What’s the best way to fight back?

Mike Raupp, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland, says to cover up and wear insect repellent when working outdoors, especially people who are over 50.

“They should take special caution because they are more at risk to West Nile infections,” Raupp says.

It’s true some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others, he says, and that some mosquitoes are more dangerous than others.

“The guys just eat nectar,” Raupp says. “The females are after blood.”

One kind of mosquito seen around here is a day biter, which is why Raupp says it’s getting scary outside.

If people are dining outside, they can set up a floor or oscillating fan to move the air around, decreasing their chances of getting a bite and a West Nile infection.

“Mosquitoes can’t fly in a breeze,” he says.