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Zapping Summertime Insect Myths

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Sumertime, Summertime Sum-Sum-Summertime….Summertime in the valley is awesome! Fresh air, sunshine, the great outdoors…and the not so great summer insects. 

 Keep in mind Washington has experienced cases of West Nile Virus so we do need to take summer bugs seriously but that doesn’t mean falling for every bug myth that comes down the pike.  Here’s a four pack  and the straight scoop.

1. Some people give off a bug-attracting scent
Verdict: True. Some sweat is tastier to bugs than other sweat, says Brian Allan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. So shower up before the pool party, and take occasional dips during. (Speaking of pool parties, try these 6 Best Foods to Grill for dishes your guests will love!)

2. You can develop a bee allergy as an adult
Verdict: True. There’s a slight risk of an allergic reaction after a sting no matter what your age, says David Golden, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins. If you have symptoms of an allergic reaction within an hour, head to the ER.

3. Citronella candles repel mosquitoes
Verdict: Sort of. Citronella can reach a max repellency rate of 22 percent outdoors, according to a 2009 study. A better bet: Buy a diffuser with geraniol. This plant-derived oil had a 75 percent repellency rate within 20 feet, the study found.

4. Mixing sunscreen and bug spray is okay
Verdict: False. An Australian study found that applying them at the same time lowered the repellent’s effectiveness. The CDC advises applying sunscreen 20 minutes before you spray. Reapply sunscreen every hour or two, and use bug spray as needed

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