Ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites, prevent West Nile Virus

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Experts say mosquitoes following the scent of humans don't care for the smell of pungent plants.

Betsy Thornburg at Belmont Nursery says scented geraniums like citronella, rosemary and even lemongrass serve as natural repellents.

"This lavender merlot we've told people about a lot because it's so highly fragrant," Thornburg said.

But it's not enough to just plant them.

You have to ruffle the plants to make sure they release a scent mosquitoes don't like.

"They can put them around their courtyard, maybe close where you would brush it with your leg or the dog could run by and move it, but that's how you repel mosquitoes by doing that," Thornburg said.

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Mosquitoes are drawn to our breath.

The DynaTrap uses carbon dioxide and fluorescent light to mimic our breath and attract the bloodsuckers.

"They're looking for that CO2 that humans breathe out and that's how they find their next victim," said Fresno Ag Hardware store manager, Ian Williams. "So it produces the CO2 which they can smell from very far away and as they get closer, there's a fan that sucks them in and they get stuck in this trap right here."

TThe DynaTrap has been a big seller at Fresno Ag Hardware. It can cover areas from 300 square feet to an acre.

Williams also steers customers to mosquito repellent containing DEET. Experts say products containing picaridin, oil of lemon and IR 3535 are also effective.

"Everybody's familiar with the citronella candle. They're really nice. They smell good," Williams said.

RELATED: First West Nile Virus death reported in Fresno County this year

It is also a great idea to cover your storm drains with netting to keep mosquitoes from going down there to lay eggs.

Be sure to remove all standing water in your yard. It doesn't take much water to provide a breeding area for mosquitoes.
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