By John Anderson

This is the time of year that diseased mosquitoes start to appear, and regular testing indicates the presence of the West Nile Virus in the Auburn area. Last week, Auburn Mass Daily published the advisory from the Auburn Board of Health.

In summary, good practices include avoiding peak mosquito hours, using insect repellents containing DEET, eliminating standing water, maintaining good window screens, and wearing long pants and sleeves.

This advice should not be taken lightly since people of all ages and health levels are potential victims. Another defense tool is clothing treated with Permethrin, a chemical that is used as an insecticide and repellent in agriculture, the textile industry and even in aviation when airplanes are required to be insect free.

Consumers can either buy clothing that is pretreated or they can purchase the chemical and spray clothing themselves. The liquid chemical is toxic to fish and cats, so it must be used and stored carefully, but the factory treatments are considered to be safe and last through 70 washing cycles, essentially the life of the garment.

Permethrin is so effective that all new U.S. Army uniforms are made with pretreated fabrics. An additional bonus is that Permethrin also protects against ticks, fleas, and flies. If one of these pests contacts treated clothing, it dies instantly. Exposed skin should still be protected by a repellent.

Permethrin products are available from outdoor retailers like LL Bean and Cabelas or they can be ordered direct from manufacturers like Insectshield or Columbia.
As the bugs increase, be prepared and stay safe.