South Dakota State University Pesticide Education Coordinator Jim Wilson said individuals should also wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved garments, and if possible, avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, such as during the evening and early morning hours.
Products containing DEET or picaridin have proven to be the most effective personal mosquito repellents in scientific tests, Wilson said.
SDSU Extension Entomologist Mike Catangui added that in situations when it's necessary to be outside at peak times of mosquito activity, in addition to using DEET or picaridin on exposed skin, individuals can consider wearing clothing treated with permethrin. Though one of the most underutilized methods of preventing mosquito bites, it may be one of the most effective, Catangui said.
Permethrin is both an insect repellent and a pesticide, so it actually kills mosquitoes that come in contact with treated clothing. It also offers protection against other pests such as chiggers, biting flies, and ticks. Once applied to a garment, permethrin offers protection for up to six weeks, even after repeated washings.
Permethrin must be applied only on clothing or related apparels such as hats, shoes and overalls several hours before being worn. It cannot be directly applied to the skin. Always follow label directions carefully when using any pesticide product, Catangui said.
Find more information about West Nile Virus and personal repellents by referring to SDSU Extension Fact Sheet 920, "Personal Mosquito Repellents." Ask for it at your local Extension office, or find it online at http://agbiopubs.sdstate.edu/articles/FS920.pdf.