EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Extra protection is urged, as the Department of Public Health confirms the first mosquito to test positive in the state for the West Nile virus.
The DPH says the mosquito was collected in Boston and that it's only a matter of time before more are discovered in other parts of the state.
Mario Gallo is spending a few bucks at A.W. Brown Pet and Garden Center in East Longmeadow to make sure his party this weekend is as mosquito-free as possible.
"There's going to be children and people all around, and we don't want to get bit, so we're going to prevent them from doing that by spraying all around the tent and perimeter to prevent that," Gallo tells us.
The DPH is asking residents to take precautions after collecting the first West Nile-infected mosquito in Boston on July 3.
While no human cases are reported, last year, there were forty-nine in Massachusetts, the greatest number the Commonwealth has ever had in a single year, so we wanted to know what repellant products really work.
A.W. Brown says they can't keep one specific repellent in stock.
"You put water in it, you shake it up, it's yeast based, and it gives off carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide draws in the mosquito thinking that it is us and they eat it it, and the yeast causes it to explode," stated Brown.
Manager Kate Devine tells Western Mass News there are natural products that customers swear by, many containing things like cedar oil, lemon grass, or citronella, like that white jug of pellets, which is also a hot seller..
"It's, again, citronella-based. You can put it in your yard or tent if you're having an event," explained Devine.
The DPH suggests a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient, like deet.
Devine says one of her favorites actually doesn't come in a bottle or spray.
It's the mosquito plant and lemon grass.
"You can plant them, but you can also take advantage of the leaf. Cut the leaf, same as with lemon grass, and snip it like you were cutting chives and sprinkle it in your area," said Devine.
Taking precaution now as the DPH says infected mosquito and human cases of West Nile usually peak in August.
Doctors say products with deet should never be used on infants and look at the label.
They also say deet should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children.