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Question for August 7: Skeeter Scare: Best Defense?

NEW ORLEANS — State officials have boosted mosquito-spraying efforts and stocked up on insect repellent to help battle the worst outbreak of the West Nile virus since it was first detected in the United States three years ago.

A fifth Louisiana resident died from the virus, health officials said Tuesday. And another 14 people contracted the mosquito-borne disease, bringing the state's total to 71. State officials planned to give away insect repellant to tourists at interstate welcome centers, warning that the outbreak is likely to get worse before fall brings cooler weather and fewer mosquitoes.

Read your emails:

An old treatment as a mosquito repellant is to get some vinegar in your system. No one can take straight vinegar, but olives and pickles are packed in vinegar. If you will just eat a pickle, or some olives, or take a sip of the juice, all biting bloodsuckers like mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers, will leave you alone. Most people have an aversion to spraying themselves with insect repellant. Also, it can be expensive. Pickles and olives are cheap, and it is more pleasant to eat an olive, than spray yourself with sticky, stinky chemicals.

Doug B. (Irondale, Al)

South Carolina has a very good Mosquito program. Besides spraying in town with trucks they also spray in rural areas to control Mosquito's. They use a C-47 spray plane to cover larger and in marsh areas. South Carolina also uses a solution they pour in the water to control mosquito larva. One product I have found that kills mosquitos is called "Martin's Mosquito Master" made by Control Solutions Inc Pasadena Texas I have no number or address for this company. A lot of local feed stores and Co-op’s have mosquito control products that can be used by anyone with no License. Remember there are two types, fresh water and salt water breeds of Mosquito's.

Marshall W.

Please stress the problem of standing water as re mosquitoes. Most people think of large areas of water, but small collections such as in pot saucers can make a difference, too.

Elizabeth G.

I always use Avon Bug Guard insect repellent. It definitely works and I don’t have to worry about washing it off after coming back inside as Off recommends because it doesn’t contain Deet. I also put it on my dog’s ears and it keeps mosquitoes and flies off her. It smells nice and works great. I have not been bitten this year.

Sylvia P. (Clanton, Al)