Buzz Off

WATCH THE CLOCK
Dawn and dusk are prime biting times for most bugs, especially mosquitoes, says Clifford W. Bassett, M.D., an immunologist at NYU. The worst times? Between five and eight, morning and night.

KEEP IT COOL
Since mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale, try hiding the evidence. "Sit wherever there's a breeze, or set up a small fan near the ground, since most bites occur on the legs," says Stephen Pennisi, Ph.D., an expert on itching and skin toxicology at New York Medical College.

SET UP A DECOY
Bees, wasps, and stinging flies are drawn to the same sweet foods we are, so sacrifice some chow--basically a mini-sampler of your meal-- and set it 10 yards away from where you're eating.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH WOMEN
According to Bassett, insects are drawn more to women than they are to men, partly because of their estrogen and partly because of the lotions and perfumes they sometimes wear. Since women also tend not to feel bites as much as men, they may not mind running interference for you.

Between the swollen red bumps, the itching, and the risk of scary-sounding conditions like West Nile and Lyme disease, insects can turn even the best summer day into a downer. Don't let them! Here's how to keep the bugs at bay during the coming months.

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