Most people know that mosquitoes spread diseases such as malaria and West Nile Virus, but did you know they are responsible for much more than that?
Here are some of the many mosquito-borne illnesses and some tips on preventing them:
West Nile Virus
First detected in the U.S. in 1999, West Nile Virus can lead to serious complications of the liver or nervous system, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or paralysis.
Malaria was thought to have been eradicated in the United States, but was detected in mosquitoes in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 2002. Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animal in the world due to the millions of people who have died from diseases like malaria.
A small but important risk for dengue fever exists in the United States. Travelers may introduce 100 to 200 cases into the United States each year. Symptoms of Dengue include vomiting, rash, and aches and pains.
The Zike virus is primarily spread to people who have been bitten by an infected mosquito of the Aedes species. Mosquitoes of this species are active both in the daytime and at night, and there is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika. If Zika is contracted during pregnancy, it can cause birth defects.
How you can help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses:
Contact a local pest management professional
Professional mosquito control companies can help homeowners reduce their exposure to mosquito bites by inspecting properties for mosquito breeding sites, and treating to control mosquitoes or suggesting corrective actions. At Mosquito Authority, our priority is the safety and well-being of you and your family.
Prevent breeding mosquitoes
An important part of mosquito control and prevention is making sure these pests do not have a place to breed. Eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites by replacing all standing water at least once a week. Potential breeding sites include bird baths, ponds, pools, and toys left out in the yard.
Get rid of yard clutter
Remove any unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
Introduce mosquito-eating fish to standing water
Some fish that eat mosquitoes include Gambusia, Green Sunfish, Bluegills, and Minnows. Introduce these fish to standing water sources in your yard, such as ponds, to reduce the chance of mosquitoes breeding.
Screen windows, doors, and other openings with mesh
Use mesh that is 18×18 strands per square inch, or finer. Seal around all screen edges, and keep doors and windows shut to prevent entry of most mosquito species.
Know when and where to avoid mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, so plan accordingly if you are going to be outside during those times.
Use insect repellent on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite
The most effective repellents currently available contain the active ingredient DEET, in concentrations up to about 35% (greater concentrations do not offer better protection). Also, wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants, preferably treated with a repellent as well.
Mosquito control is not just important for your comfort, but for your health as well. You can visit the CDC for more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, and check out our other blogs for more mosquito control tips.