Welcome Summer; Unwelcome Mosquitoes

Nothing ruins summertime fun like a pesky swarm of mosquitoes, but these irksome insects are more than just a nuisance. From West Nile virus (WNV) to Dengue fever and allergic reactions a mosquito bite may leave behind more than just an itchy, red welt. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that mosquito-borne diseases pose a great risk during the summer months due to the warmer weather and increased time spent outdoors.

While mosquito-borne disease, like Malaria, is a leading cause of death in developing countries, mosquitoes in every region transmit disease-causing pathogens that can trigger a range of symptoms and illnesses, regardless of geography. According to the CDC, in 2010 alone there were more than 1,000 reported cases of WNV in the United States, in addition to a spike in reported cases of Dengue fever.

Mosquitoes are a major concern for anyone spending time outdoors this summer, said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. Luckily, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce mosquitoes from breeding in your own backyard and to protect yourself from those itchy bites.

The NPMA offers the following tips to avoid mosquitoes:

  • Eliminate sources of standing water around your home, including flower pots, clogged gutters, and tires. Take proactive measures by drilling holes in the bottom of recycling bins and trashcans, and replacing the water in birdbaths weekly.
  • Use insect repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET or Picaridin. Reapply when outdoors for an extended period of time.
  • Since mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, limit time outdoors or wear long sleeves and pants during those hours.
  • Inspect window/door screens for holes and repair any that you find to minimize chances for entry into the home.
  • If bitten, clean the area thoroughly with soap and water. Avoid scratching the bite area, and apply anti-itch cream if necessary.

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