Keeping mosquitoes at bay. Myths vs. facts

This is Mosquito Control Awareness Week, and after a wet spring on the Grand Strand, you know there are plenty of them out there.

Most of us know that standing water is a prime breeding spot for mosquitoes, so draining water around your home will help keep them down.

But what else have you heard about how to control them?

Does soapy water work? Eating bananas? Taking vitamin B?

Clemson University extension agent Ben Powell won't say those things never work.

There's just no science behind them.

"Unfortunately, there's no testing that's been done to verify that those things work," Powell said.

Powell says the prime breeding spot for mosquitoes is not necessarily a river or pond.

"Too many predators, too many diseases there that control them."

He says mosquitoes are more likely to breed in stagnant water in your own backyard.

"That means if you've got any toys, potted plants, buckets, anything collecting rainwater that holds it for more than about a week, it needs to be dumped out regularly."

Lennie Johnson, assistant general manager at Lane's Pest Extermination, says there's no proven do-it-yourself remedy.

He says standing water is still the big concern, but he also targets his insecticide on bushes where mosquitoes feed.

"Anything that has leaves on it during the day, feeding on the nectar of the leaves and so we're going right to the source and treating that area," said Johnson.

Powell says the problem with keeping mosquitoes away is that they're attracted to carbon dioxide, which we all give off when we exhale.

"You're not going to avoid having mosquitoes coming to you, because everybody's breathing. And we're all breathing the same for the most part," he said.

So, science has no definitive answers for why any one person is more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

What is effective at preventing mosquito bites? Powell suggests wearing long sleeves when you're outdoors. You'll sweat more, but you won't get bit.

He also says look for any product with DEET in it. It should have at least a 10 percent solution.