Take a bite out of bug season with these tips

Bug spray should repel insects, not your family — but some of the chemicals used in mosquito repellent can sometimes do exactly that.

A recent study shows that 60 percent of Americans shy away from any insect repellent, even when the mosquito-borne West Nile virus may be a serious threat.

Add to that a Centers for Disease Control Report stating that spraying pesticides is actually the least effective mosquito control technique and you may be scratching your head, wondering just how to keep biting bugs at bay.

The advice from scientists: Go natural. A variety of steps can be taken to reduce the number of mosquitoes in a yard without using bug spray. Try these tips:

• Water, water, everywhere? Take a walk around your yard or outdoor space and look for standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still puddles. Eliminating those puddles can reduce the number of bugs in your yard. Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes regularly and be sure to dump any water that’s collected in pots or other containers around the yard. It’s also smart to drill holes in the bottom of tire swings.

• Nowhere to hide. Keeping your yard well-trimmed can cut down on the places mosquitoes have to hide from predators, such as birds or other bugs. Fewer hiding spots could mean fewer mosquitoes — and fewer mosquito bites.

• Virtually eliminate mosquitoes. A new device traps and kills mosquitoes by making itself irresistible to the biting bugs. It emits a plume of carbon dioxide, heat and moisture that mimics human breath and has specialized attractants to lure mosquitoes to the trap. As the mosquito approaches the trap hoping for a human, it is quietly vacuumed into a net, where it dehydrates and dies.

• Permanent results. The traps are considered long-term solutions. They’ve been used by hotels and restaurants to make “mosquito walls” that keep guests comfortable and they’ve been scientifically proven effective. In fact, the trap’s manufacturer says that they will virtually eliminate the mosquito population in a yard after weeks of use.