[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 3
1925 - By letter, Wyatt Earp beseeches his friend William S. Hart to portray him in a movie, to correct the "lies about me." Hart never did. [story]
Hart-Wyatt Earp

Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Jul 10, 2016

DianneErskineHellrigelYou’re probably thinking sharks, lions, tigers, bears and the like, right? Believe it or not, the deadliest animal in the world is the mosquito.

mosquitoes are responsible for a lot of diseases including Zika virus, malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever, cikungunya and filariasis. Thousands of species feed on the blood of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The nasty, itchy lump you get after a mosquito bite is a reaction to their saliva. Most bites cause little more than the itchy lump, but keep an eye open for symptoms that could be more dangerous.

Are you one of those people who gets bitten by mosquitoes more than others? Or are you one of the lucky ones who might only get a few bites, while the friend next to you is covered with bites?

There’s a reason for that. Blood type is one of them. People with type-O blood are more appealing to a mosquito. People who drink alcohol, especially beer, and those with diabetes are delicious subjects to a mosquito.

Even shirt color can determine whom a mosquito picks on. Genetics plays a huge role in how attractive you are to a mosquito. (Thanks, Dad). Steroids, ingestion of sugary foods and even higher levels of cholesterol can influence mosquitoes and cause them to swarm around you.

13588980_10210420328723321_771424886_oCarbon dioxide is another attractant. If you are emitting a lot of it, the mosquitoes will come to visit you from a distance of at least 50 meters. Activity and exertion produce lactic acid, and greater production of carbon dioxide – both of which will turn you into a mosquito magnet. Not only that, but movement is something the mosquitoes can sense, and your activity will bring them right in.

I tested this on a recent camping trip. One night I was stationary and got very few bites, while the girl dancing nearby was being ravaged. The second night, I spent more time walking around, and I quickly became the target.

Why do they bite? They don’t need your blood for a meal. Only the female mosquito bites, and she bites because she needs blood to help develop her fertile eggs.

They have been around for 170 million years. Despite our best efforts, they might be around for another 170 million years. To make matters worse, in the United States, there are more than 175 species of mosquitoes.

It is wise to use a repellent when you are in mosquito territory. The most effective repellents contain DEET. DEET has been in use for over 40 years and is considered to be a safe choice, as long as you follow directions on the product label. There have been a few hospitalizations due to inappropriate use and overuse. Read the label.

13643968_10210420328563317_582524528_nAnother chemical in use since 1998 has proven somewhat effective and safe. It is called picaridin. If you are sensitive to chemicals, or hate to use them, there is another newer chemical called metofluthrin. This chemical is not applied to the skin. It comes in a paper strip you can put in areas such as a patio table, or you can attach it to your clothing. It is battery powered and releases the chemical into the air, thus chasing the mosquitoes away.

Other non-chemical choices include eucalyptus products, lemon-eucalyptus, lemongrass, geranium, citronella, cedar and peppermint. All of these natural products can provide short-lived protection.

When I was in Tahiti, I was forewarned about the huge mosquito problem at the time. I tried vitamin B1 as an alternative. It was very effective. I took the vitamin for two weeks before I left and throughout the trip. It made my skin smell funny, but it kept most of the mosquitoes away. There are ongoing studies on this type of repellant now. Thus far, there are no conclusions to report.

Another alternative to think about are mosquito traps. These traps emit mosquito attractants to lure the mosquitoes in, and then the trap kills them. If you live in a mosquito-infested area, this is a good way to stay safe. Place them everywhere around the exterior of your home. They have been proven to eliminate large populations of mosquitoes.

13595569_10210420328523316_722069129_nIf you’re traveling to an infested region, you might consider Bug Off brand clothing. These safari-style pants, shirts and socks are saturated with permethrin, a marigold derivative. I have traveled throughout Africa and Asia with these rugged clothes and have stayed free of mosquito bites.

Note: If you’re in Africa in tsi tsi fly areas, don’t wear black or blue. Leave those jeans at home. Black and blue colors will attract tsi tsi flies.

You can also buy spray on permethrin and spray your own clothing. Permethrin will wash out of your clothes. The labels say they are good for 25 washings. I have found they lose most of their effectiveness after 10 washes.

To stay safer at home, remove any standing water where mosquitoes can breed. If you have a small pond, bird bath or rain barrel (without a cover), change the water regularly. Check your rain gutters to make sure they are not clogged and holding water. Don’t let water collect for too long in the saucers under your plants. This is a perfect breeding ground for those pesky mosquitoes.

I hope this information will help to keep you safe and mosquito-free.


Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.


Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. Important info. Thank you.

  2. Dianna Boone says:

    Very interesting! Especially about the vitamin B1 and Bug Off clothing, movement and blood type.

Leave a Comment

Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Thursday, Jul 2, 2020
It seems like many things in our lives have been flipped upside down in the past few months. However, work continues, as planned, on the two major projects within our Santa Clarita 2020 Strategic Plan. Throughout the Safer at Home order, construction projects continued to progress.
Wednesday, Jul 1, 2020
July is filled with warm, sunny days and one of the city of Santa Clarita’s favorite holidays - the Fourth of July.
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020
Attempting to care for mental health problems, homelessness, and other social ills should not be placed in the realm of law enforcement.
Saturday, Jun 27, 2020
Today marks my 100th consecutive day of posting a commentary on COVID-19, and most recently BLM. These two events of 2020 will be forever etched in history, yet we are still living though evolving changes daily.
Friday, Jun 26, 2020
For years, I have been aware of my biracial background, and now I can identify with the fastest growing “race” in the Untied States – the mixed race. This was extended further with DNA analysis as I’ve discovered I am triracial.
Thursday, Jun 25, 2020
If my father were still alive, I would be peppering him with questions about how he and his family pursued daily life with the pandemic of 1918 all around them.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Park officials have announced Los Angeles County regional parks and natural areas, which include William S. Hart Park, Placerita Nature Center and Vasquez Rocks, will now be closed Mondays and Tuesdays due to staffing reductions.
SCV Regional Parks, Natural Areas to Reduce Operating Hours
At the direction of the Department of Public Health, all Los Angeles County beaches will be closed this weekend, resulting in the closure of all lifeguard towers.
Beaches in L.A., Ventura Counties to Close for Holiday Weekend
The city of Santa Clarita has changed the language of its Code Enforcement’s mission statement -- by omitting a portion stating that issues are addressed using the "broken windows" theory -- to reflect what officials said is a more accurate reflection of operations.
City Changes Code Enforcement Mission Statement Regarding ‘Broken Windows’ Theory
In a multiagency partnership, several Santa Clarita Valley nonprofits were able to receive enough food donations to allow them to serve thousands of local families in need.
Acts of Kindness: Enough Food Donations to Last the Summer
When Simon Mee, owner of Newhall Refinery, heard that officials were ordering bars and wineries to close once again, he wondered if SCV restaurants would be next.
SCV Restaurants in ‘Survival Mode’ Amid Ever-Changing COVID-19 Restrictions
A music teacher who taught in schools throughout Southern California, including Santa Clarita, pleaded guilty to one federal count of producing child pornography and six state counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.
Music Teacher Charged with Sex Acts Upon Children, Child Porn Pleads Guilty
1925 - By letter, Wyatt Earp beseeches his friend William S. Hart to portray him in a movie, to correct the "lies about me." Hart never did. [story]
Hart-Wyatt Earp
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 2,204 new cases of COVID-19 and 55 new deaths due to the virus countywide, with a total of 3,239 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley since the pandemic began.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: California Surpasses 240,000 Cases, 3,239 Cases in SCV
The SCV Senior Center’s popular lunch service for seniors in the Santa Clarita Valley held a special “Drive Thru Celebration” for the Fourth of July.
Bella Vida Holds Special ‘Drive-Thru Celebration’ for Fourth of July
College of the Canyons All-State middle linebacker Charles Ike, one of the most prodigious tacklers in the program's proud history, has signed with Idaho State University after a notable two-year run as one of the Cougars' top defensive playmakers.
COC’s All-State Linebacker Charles Ike Commits to Idaho State
As we continue to adapt business practices in this challenging environment, SCV Water remains deeply committed to the safety of our customers, community, and employees as we continue to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In-Person Assistance, Payment Plans Now Available at SCV Water
Los Angeles County leaders are urging residents to stay home this 4th of July holiday weekend to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the healthcare system is not overwhelmed.
County Leaders Urge Residents to Stay Home 4th of July Weekend, Slow COVID-19 Spread
Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel were called to the scene of a brush fire in Stevenson Ranch on Thursday.
Twain Fire in Stevenson Ranch Held to 3 Acres, Forward Progress Stopped
Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Missing Person Unit are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Ashley Bebe Nichole, a 26-year-old Black female, who was last seen on the 17700 block of Birkewood Court in Santa Clarita, on Tuesday, June 2, at 3:10 a.m.
LASD Seek Public’s Help in Locating Missing Santa Clarita Woman
The city of Santa Clarita wants to know how your internet service is performing. Local businesses and residents alike are encouraged to complete the City’s new Speed Test Survey available at speedup.santa-clarita.com.
Santa Clarita Residents Encouraged to Take Internet Speed Test Survey
It seems like many things in our lives have been flipped upside down in the past few months. However, work continues, as planned, on the two major projects within our Santa Clarita 2020 Strategic Plan. Throughout the Safer at Home order, construction projects continued to progress.
Message from City Manager Ken Striplin
The fast-spreading Rowher Fire in Agua Dulce reached about 625 acres overnight, with approximately 50% containment, according to Maria Grycan, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County Fire Department.
Rowher Fire in Agua Dulce at 50% Containment, Reaches 625 Acres Overnight
JCI Santa Clarita, an organization that teaches skills development to young professionals, is partnering with a charcuterie professional to offer a local Zoom workshop to the Santa Clarita Valley.
July 11: JCI to Host Charcuterie Board Virtual Training Workshop
SACRAMENTO - State Sen. Scott Wilk announced Thursday he and legislative colleagues are calling for an audit of the California Employment Development Department (EDD) to clarify what is causing the inexcusable delays in distributing unemployment benefits to people whom, in some cases, applied months ago.
Wilk Calls for Audit of California Unemployment Agency
The MAIN is excited to present another virtual “10 by 10 Variety Night” to the Santa Clarita community. The show is back tonight, July 2, at 7:00 p.m., with ten fun and engaging performances.
10 by 10 Variety Night Returns Virtually
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) forecast, air quality will be unhealthy in the Santa Clarita Valley for sensitive groups and individuals Friday, July 3.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
The Fourth of July is one of the busiest times for the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC).
Animal Care & Control Offering Tips to Protect Pets During Fourth of July
An operation conducted by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Career Offender — Burglary, Robbery, Assault (COBRA) team netted 23 arrests Tuesday.
SCV Sheriff’s COBRA Operation Nets Felony Arrests
1869 - Sanford Lyon (as in Lyons Avenue) appointed postmaster of Petropolis (today's Eternal Valley Cemetery) [story]
Sanford Lyon
%d bloggers like this: