The Buzz On Beating Mosquitoes

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mosquitoes, known for leaving itchy red welts on their human victims, have long topped the list of warm-weather pest concerns. But this season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is reporting that mosquitoes are likely to be worse than usual, especially in many parts of the country that had an unusually warm and wet spring.

The Problem

Heavier-than-normal precipitation can leave areas of standing water, which are perfect mosquito breeding grounds. This is cause for concern, as humans can contract West Nile virus (WNV), a potentially serious illness, when bitten by an infected mosquito.

What To Watch For

Symptoms of WNV infection include headache, fever, rash, muscle ache and gastrointestinal problems. WNV infection can lead to encephalitis and meningitis, though as many as 80 percent of infected humans show no symptoms at all.

Helpful Hints

The NPMA recommends the following tips to prevent mosquito bites:

  • To avoid mosquito nesting and breeding sites, eliminate standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, barrels and other objects that can collect water. Add a fountain or drip system to birdbaths and ponds on your property to keep water fresh.
  • Keep windows and doors properly screened to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Be alert when outdoors during dawn, dusk and early evening hours, when mosquito-biting activity can peak. Also, avoid areas near water where mosquitoes gather, especially during peak activity.
  • Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes.
  • If you'll be spending time outdoors, wear mosquito repellent with DEET as well as long pants and long-sleeve shirts.
  • If you have a mosquito infestation on your property, contact a pest professional.

Learn More

Visit www.pestworld.org for more information about mosquito control options or to find a pest professional nearby.