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Norwalk Daily Voice serves Norwalk & Rowayton

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Don't Let Mosquitoes Spoil the Feast

A cloud of mosquitoes is the last thing you want when you're firing up the grill for an outdoor soirée. So how can you protect yourself and the kids without dousing everyone in toxic chemicals? Here are some tips that will help banish "skeeters" from your backyard.

* Track down any standing water in your garden. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so throw out anything that collects water, such as old tires and unused buckets. If you have an old-fashioned tire swing, drill holes in the bottom of the tire so water can drain out. If you have a sandbox, make sure the toys aren't full of water. If you have an ornamental pond or open drain, toss in a mosquito donut . Mosquito donuts are floating briquettes that contain bacteria that kill the larvae.

* Keep your grass short. Mosquitoes hide in long grass during the day and come out at night to feed. Weed whack long grass growing around sheds and behind the garage.

* Mosquitoes feed at dusk, dawn and through the night. If you can avoid being out at the same time as these pests, you'll avoid getting bitten. If you're going to be sharing space with them, wear long pants and sleeves and use a natural bug spray. Citronella and lavender oil work well, as does coconut oil extract.

* If you're eating outside, surround yourself with fans. Mosquitoes need still, calm air to fly and a blowing fan should prevent them landing on you.

Do you have any sure-fire methods for battling mosquitoes? I know our readers would love to hear. Would you leave a comment below?

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