How to drive off mosquitoes without driving off game
Aedes egypti mosquito, one of the species being scrutinized as a possible carrier of the Zika virus, among other pathogens.
The arrival of locally transmitted Zika virus in Florida has given outdoorsmen just one more reason to avoid mosquitoes. What techniques can we adopt to deal with the pesky and potentially hazardous bugs?
First, it should be pointed out that the two species of mosquitoes that are currently known to be vectors for Zika are more likely to be encountered near human habitation than in a remote swamp. They are considered container-breeding mosquitoes. From what a mosquito expert explained to me, it is likely that millions of years ago these mosquitoes bred in tree cavities, but have evolved into a close relationship with humans and are now found almost exclusively in concert with people. The expert’s counsel on avoiding mosquito borne diseases was simple: “Don’t get bit.”
Protection boils down to chemical repellents, clothing, Therma-Cells, avoidance (choosing to hunt dry ground, for instance), or a combination of these.
There is a wide variety of repellents for both skin and clothing and many are remarkably efficacious. Some are described as unscented, but I have not yet discovered any that are truly odorless. They can be quite effective and helpful to fishermen, froggers, early season duck hunters and turkey hunters. Outdoorsmen pursuing whitetails or hogs, especially when there is a need to get exceptionally close may be leery of increasing their scent level with chemical repellents. Some deer hunters feel…