One of the most enjoyable parts of summer is getting to shed the heavy winter clothing and to spend time outside soaking up the sun.  The warm months also provides greater opportunities to relax outdoors, enjoying daytime and evening picnics and dinners.  One downside to outdoor summer fun is the invasion of mosquitoes, fleas, no-see-ums and other pesky bugs.  There is an expectation that this past unseasonably warm winter will result in an exceptionally brutal insect infestation this summer.  Many communities have instituted mosquito programs to try to keep these infestations to a minimum because these bugs are disease carriers.  Besides the discomfort of itching, allergic reactions and unsightly sores, mosquitoes can carry diseases that affect humans, such as malaria and West Nile virus, and they also can cause dog heartworms and encephalitis in other animals.

Although pesticide spraying is mandated in many communities for public health reasons, each of us can adopt green incentives to reduce the mosquito population in our neighborhoods.  Green gardening goes a long way here.  Planting a hummingbird garden is one way to help control the mosquito population because hummingbirds eat mosquitoes.  Some of the plants that attract hummingbirds include bee balm, columbine, butterfly bushes, lantana, Catawba rhododendrons and many other red plants.  A hummingbird garden can be as small as a patio garden or hanging plants or as large as landscaped community gardens.  Any home or community can achieve beauty with a purpose.

Mosquitoes and other bugs are a natural part of summer, but if we live green, be green, we can reduce the impact of this problem.

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