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Soggy Days Breed Mosquito Misery for Exposed Skin

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Your flowers probably love all the rain.

Your bare arms and legs probably do not.

Days of rain have brought an onslaught of mosquitoes, which usually don't reach their peak attack mode until mid-August, said Elmer Gray, an entomologist at Georgia Tech.

Dawn, dusk, noon --- they're out in full force, pestering anyone taking advantage of a break in the rain.

Bettye Ligon of College Park wasn't ready for them when she went to an outdoor birthday party last Saturday. Mosquitoes feasted on her arms and legs.

"The little devils wouldn't leave me alone all day. . . . I just didn't think about protecting myself," she said.

It's probably not going to get better anytime soon.

Sporadic rain is predicted in Georgia for at least the next few weeks.

The good news: Although public health officials reported the season's first case of West Nile virus in mosquitoes in Fulton County last week, no one this year has been infected with the mosquito-borne disease.

To protect from mosquitoes, wear long-sleeved shirts, socks and pants at dawn and dusk. Don't leave water standing in trash, pet dishes and buckets. Use insect repellent containing DEET, and fix holes in window screens and gaps in doors.

Advised Gray: "You can't be vigilant enough this summer."

Copyright 2004 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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