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Despite the many perks that come with Austin summertime, outdoor BBQ, lounging at Barton Springs Pool and boating on Lake Travis, getting bit by mosquitos is not one of them.
In a mosquito season that lasts until November in Texas, keeping the mozzies at bay is not the ideal way to spend the summer. Plus, according to Pests.org, Texas is in for more mosquitos than average this summer on account of a much wetter than normal summer.
Nationwide, Austin was named the 33rd worst city for mosquitos, so the internet has even thought of some curious ways to prevent them:
In all seriousness, here are some of the best ways to prevent and relieve yourself of those itchy bites.
Topical bug repellent
Preventative sprays and lotions are typically the best ways to prevent getting bites since you are adding a protective layer directly to your skin. For optimal protection, look for products that have either DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. For natural options, essential oils like lavender, rosemary, orange, marigold or basil tend to be most effective.
If you need something on the go and don't have the capacity to bring a clunky can with you, grab some wipes that will fit into your bag or back pocket. Ben's DEET wipes give you a 30% DEET for protection or Natrapel's wipes are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, so they are proven to work.
Have a personal vendetta against mosquitos? A mosquito zapper will stop them in their tracks before you even have to look at them. The Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller will only run you $20 and will stop those pests in their tracks and is activated by heat, so there's no batteries or cords and you'll be unstoppably armed.
Citronella candles are a must for patio spaces, plus they bring a soothing ambiance. You can pick up a citronella candle at almost all places that sell outdoor products. Small sizes will keep you protected on a balcony or small porch, but you might want to opt for a bigger tub if you're planning to be in a more open space.
If you're just trying to keep skeeters from laying eggs in your pond, pool or plants, Summit's Mosquito Dunks will kill larvae for up to 30 days. Bye-bye, baby mosquitos! The little circles are EPA approved and safe for pets, fish and wildlife.
And if you've already been bitten...
Bug Bite Thing
The reason mosquito bites itch is because the mosquito's saliva contains an anticoagulant and proteins that trigger the body's immune response, releasing histamine that causes an itch. The Bug Bite Thing uses suction to extract the saliva or venom from bites, relieving you of itchiness without the aid of topicals.
Calamine or anti-itch lotion
Calamine or over-the-counter anti-itch lotions will save you time, scars and the annoyance of constant itching after a bite-full weekend. Benedryl's itch-stopping gel contains diphenhydramine hydrochloride, a histamine blocker, that will keep that itch at bay for hours.
Cold temperatures reduce inflammation, so applying a cold compress will give you temporary relief. It may not stop itching for good but give it enough time and you might forget about the bite altogether.
Using baking soda on a bite has a similar effect to the Bug Bite Tool, drawing toxins to the surface of your skin. To try it yourself, mix baking soda with just enough water to make it into a paste, slather a generous layer onto the bite and leave it to dry for 10 minutes before washing it away.
Don't let mosquitoes ruin the summer of 2021!
This is not medical advice. If you experiencing an adverse reaction to bites, call a doctor.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a record-setting second quarter during an earnings call broadcasted from the Giga Texas construction site in Southeast Travis County on Monday.
The electric carmaker reported more than $1 billion in quarterly net income and the production of more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time despite challenges such as a global semiconductor shortage.
"It … seems that public sentiment towards electric vehicles is at an inflection point, and at this point, I think, almost everyone agrees electric vehicles are the only way forward," Musk said.
Exterior shots taken just a while ago of Giga Texas (while @elonmusk is reportedly at the Gigafactory!) during today's earnings call!
Hope @peterdog15 got to catch the technoking in his video! #fastestinhistory #Tesla pic.twitter.com/WqeDlb5wU3
— Austin Tesla Club (@AustinTeslaClub) July 26, 2021
Despite rising consumer demand and adequate factory capacity, Tesla faces what Musk described as a "quite serious" global semiconductor shortage, which will determine the company's growth rate for the rest of the year.
With increased revenue and production, Tesla is investing in new factories, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said. These include Giga Texas, the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant that broke ground last summer and is slated to open later this year.
The Giga Texas factory in Southeast Travis County has rapidly increased in size since ground broke last August. (Tesla)
Musk commended the construction team for "incredible progress," transforming what was basically a vacant site into "a mostly complete large factory a year later."
I was at Giga Texas yesterday. Team is making excellent progress. Building will be almost a mile long when complete.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2021
Giga Texas will produce the highly anticipated Cybertruck, along with other models, but Musk said scaling its production will be difficult, especially given the supply chain delays caused by the pandemic. "It's going to move as fast as the slowest of its up to 10,000 unique parts," he said.
In other news, Musk said Monday's earnings call would likely be his last regular appearance, only jumping on future quarterly calls when big announcements warrant it.
Tesla Solar recently made news when it announced plans to build the nation's most sustainable residential community in Southeast Austin earlier this month. The newly built homes will feature Tesla solar roof tiles and Powerwall battery storage as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
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The city of Austin released a shortlist of seven candidates for the police chief position left vacant when Brian Manley retired in March.
City Manager Spencer Cronk hopes to announce an appointment by the end of August, which will require City Council approval.
The finalists, chosen from a field of 46 applicants, include:
- APD Interim Chief Joseph Chacon, who previously served as an assistant chief in the department for almost five years
- Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Oakland, California, who was fired last year after a federal monitor criticized her handling of a fatal 2018 police shooting of a homeless man
- Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Avery L. Moore, who is a 30-year veteran of the department
- Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy, who manages the department's community services division
- Dekalb County Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos, who previously served as division chief in the Miami-Dade Police Department
- Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay, who is a former president of the Minnesota Police Chief's Association as well as one of the first police chiefs of a major U.S. City to call George Floyd's death a murder, as reported by the Wichita Eagle
- Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Emada E. Tingirides, who is also commanding officer of the department's newly formed Community Safety Partnership Bureau, which serves L.A.'s underserved communities
City staff will interview the finalists in the coming weeks, with several community input opportunities to come, according to a Monday press release.
The city conducted a public survey in March and hosted community input meetings in April to learn more about what residents are looking for in their next police chief, which helped shape the selection criteria for the position.
"They want to see the Chief be reform-minded and transparent and have a track record of fostering community involvement and accountability," Cronk said in the release. "The candidates selected show these characteristics in various ways."
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Days after Austin began once again recommending masks in public spaces, Austin ISD announced Monday that kindergarten through sixth-grade classes will have virtual options this fall.
The district will discuss the move in a special board meeting Monday evening starting at 5 p.m., while full details will be released Friday.
Teachers will not have to fret about the new option—no educators will have to juggle both virtual and in-person learning. Instead, certain teachers will specialize in virtual education, according to a press release.
The news comes after a recent spike in COVID cases in Travis County and across the nation. Children typically suffer fewer symptoms of COVID when contracted, but they are now catching the virus more often than their older counterparts without a vaccine available to them and as the more contagious Delta variant is quickly being spread.
While local health officials are recommending everyone wear masks, public school districts are unable to mandate masks due to an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Parents have expressed concern about classrooms with masks unenforceable and children under the age of 12 ineligible for a vaccine. Some have even said they would look for alternative schooling if AISD did not offer a virtual option for students.
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