Flowers are not the only things blooming when the weather warms. The beauty of the season also brings a nuisance for anyone who likes to be outside – mosquitoes. These pesky insects, which can be found nearly everywhere, begin breeding in the spring and cause problems all summer.
Fortunately, a few control measures can help reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard all season. Take the following steps to lower mosquito populations and protect yourself and your family:
- Eliminate breeding sites. Remove objects that may collect rain water where mosquitoes breed. Common locations include clogged roof gutters, birdbaths, wading pools, plant pots, swimming pool covers, old tires and toys. (Mosquitoes need only a thimble-full of water to breed.)
- Replace outdoor light bulbs with yellow bulbs or sodium vapor bulbs that are less attractive to mosquitoes.
- Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out. Make sure that your window and door screens are “bug tight” (18 x 18 strands per square inch) with no holes.
According to Dr. Ron Harrison, entomologist and Orkin technical services director, once mosquito season hits, you should take additional precautions.
“When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors and apply insect repellent that contains a high percentage of DEET,” says Harrison. “Mosquitoes are annoying pests, but you can help steer clear of them by avoiding being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.”
It is important to protect yourself from mosquitoes – for more reasons than just their itchy bites. Mosquitoes can be dangerous and can spread diseases such as West Nile virus, which can cause very serious symptoms.
A blood-borne illness, West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to a variety of hosts, including birds, horses, cats, dogs, bats, rabbits and humans. Most cases of West Nile in humans show up in late summer or early fall, but can appear year-round in warmer parts of the country.
To learn more, visit www.orkin.com. For more information about West Nile virus, ask your doctor or visit www.cdc.gov.