It’s time once again to step up the battle against mosquitoes.
There are many things to enjoy in the spring, but mosquitoes are not one of them and especially not this year. Experts across the region are predicting an especially fierce mosquito season again this year due to the warm winter we experienced, and in many areas the infestations have already started.
According to the North Carolina Mosquito and Vector Control Association, mosquitoes are carriers or vectors of many diseases around the world. Malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and filariasis are some of the most common. While these diseases occur overseas, they are not currently spread by mosquitoes in North Carolina. Malaria was once found throughout the southern United States but has been stopped in this country as a result of mosquito control, medical treatment and improved living conditions.
In North Carolina, three viruses are carried by mosquitoes to people: Eastern equine, La Crosse and West Nile.
In some cases, the illness caused by these viruses may be severe and result in encephalitis or death. They can also infect beloved pets with heart worms or West Nile Virus and may even hitch a ride into your home on a pet.
To help homeowners protect themselves against mosquitoes this year, local professionals recommend the following simple, proactive measures:
• Eliminate all sources of standing water such as children’s wading pools, birdbaths and flower pots.
• Keep rain gutters cleaned out to prevent water from standing in drains.
• Cut back or get rid of unnecessary vegetation around the home where mosquitoes can breed and/or nest.
• When swimming pools aren’t in use, keep them covered to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs.
• Remove water that has collected in tree holes and hollow stumps.
• Screen windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside homes.
• Consider using yellow bug light bulbs in outdoor light fixtures — the bulbs reduce the number of flying insects around your home.
In addition to routine precautions, there are a number of pest control services that offers tips and treatments for infestations. Gregory Brown, president of Brown’s Termite & Pest Control in Rockingham, states a combination of techniques will best help in extreme cases. He stated there are easily accessible items such as the mosquito dunk, that are available for purchase at Lowe’s or Walmart.
“The mosquito dunk is a ring-shaped device that can be placed in standing water like a pond or pool and interferes with the mosquitoes reproduction,” said Brown. “It’s like birth control for mosquitoes.”
Director of the Richmond County Health Department Tommy Jarrell advises everyone to avoid being outdoors during the most troublesome periods of the summer day, one hour after dawn and one hour before dusk. These are the times of the average day that mosquitoes are most active.
Residents can also introduce predators into their environment like fish. Stocking your ponds or ditches can eliminate mosquito breeding sites, said Jarrell.
He also advised that other than taking steps around the home, people should also protect their bodies by wearing light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts and pants.
“Wearing more clothing will also protect people from the sun, which is an added benefit,” said Jarrell. “Obviously it’s becoming that time of the year again where people will be exposed more to mosquitoes and there are a number of things that can be done to minimize attacks and breeding grounds.”
— Staff Writer Cassidy Odom can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 16, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.