Spring is here and summer isn’t far behind. That means families taking part in more outdoor activities and the chance to run into pesky mosquitoes. But mosquitoes are more than just pests, they can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is to use EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20 to 30 percent DEET, Picardin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Wearing light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants, and socks will also help prevent mosquito bites.
One of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around the home and in the yard. Residents are urged to clean up around their homes, yards, and communities and get rid of unnecessary items that can hold water and turn into mosquito breeding grounds. After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys and wading pools, buckets, etc. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. For containers without lids or that are too big to tip over or toss out (bird baths, garden pools), use larvicides such as Mosquito Dunks or Pre-Strike Mosquito Torpedoes and follow the label instructions. These larvicides will not hurt birds or animals. In addition, clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves,and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes.
Residents are always encouraged to remember the 5 D’s of Prevention:
- Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
- Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed.
- DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
- Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
- Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
Controlling the mosquito population has to be a community-wide effort. If we all do our part to remove places where mosquitoes can breed and take precautions to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes then we can lessen the risk of getting mosquito-borne diseases.
For more information on mosquito-borne illness and mosquito prevention, click HERE.