Preventing Zika at Your Backyard Barbecue

Zika is the latest virus to garner world wide headlines, and health authorities have predicted that Zika will spread throughout the Americas. Like other debilitating viruses (West Nile, malaria, and dengue fever), Zika is transmitted by the bites of infected mosquitoes.


Reduce Breeding Areas

Because there is no vaccine to prevent the spread of Zika, the key to controlling the spread of this and other diseases is to control the mosquito populations. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water, so homeowners need to be vigilant in eliminating places where water can collect and stand in their yards and gardens.

This includes cans, plastic containers, old tires and saucers under plant pots that should be emptied periodically. Turn wheelbarrows upside down, and children’s wading pools when not in use.

Kill Mosquito Larvae

Look for products that contain BTI, a bacterium deadly to mosquito larvae, but harmless to people, plants, fish, wildlife, and beneficial insects. Here at Giordano’s we carry ‘Mosquito Dunks’, ‘Mosquito Bits,’ and several other biologic and organic products which contain BTI that will kill mosquito larvae for up to 30 days.

Finally, Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes

To reduce your chances of getting mosquito bites, it is best to limit your outdoor exposure if you can during the times the mosquitoes are most active, which is an hour before and after dawn and after dusk. (Other types of mosquitoes may be active during the day, but not the Zika mosquito). Wear long sleeves and pants as much as possible when outside, as well as light colored clothing, because the mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors.

What About the Use of DEET?

While some might be reluctant to use it, products containing DEET have been deemed safe for human use, including children (follow guidelines). Opt for 7-to-10 percent if you only need a few hours of protection. If you need all-day protection, look for 20-30 percent DEET, ideally in a time-release formulation.

  • Read and follow all directions and precautions on this product label.
  • Do not apply over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Do not apply to hands or near eyes and mouth of young children.
  • Do not allow young children to apply this product.
  • Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing.
  • Do not use under clothing.
  • Avoid over-application of this product.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
  • Wash treated clothing before wearing it again.
  • Use of this product may cause skin reactions in rare cases.