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Banish backyard mosquito pests- You can take steps to enjoy the outdoors

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on August 23, 2017 with No Comments

By Family Features

With warmer weather, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside.

According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of TruGreen, 85 percent of Americans say that mosquitoes limit their family’s outdoor activities during the months they’re most active. The same survey also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about protecting themselves and their family from Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses.

A majority of respondents reported using bug spray on themselves and their family members to combat mosquitoes outdoors at home. Although it’s the leading preventative measure, still only half say it is most effective at preventing mosquitoes from biting.

Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts five to seven months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures.

These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pest control experts at TruGreen can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home:

Remove standing water. Mosquitoes generally lay eggs near water, so once a week take time to dump anything that may hold water in the yard. This includes buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Don’t overlook items like toys, planters and flowerpot saucers. For containers intended to hold water, like cisterns or rain barrels, regularly check that the lid is secure so mosquitoes can’t gain access. A finely woven mesh is a good alternative if there is no lid. If you can’t cover the container and won’t be drinking from it, use a larvicide to treat the water.

Be wary of unexpected reservoirs. Natural features such as shrubbery and tree stumps can also collect water, and they may be more difficult to remedy. Keep dense shrubs thinned and pruned. Increasing the air flow can make these areas less attractive. If removing a tree stump is impractical, a professional can guide you in proper treatment.

Apply a broad-application pest eliminator. Use an outdoor insect spray or professional service to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest all over the yard. A professionally applied treatment such as TruGreen Mosquito Defense targets pests where they live, and the company’s professionally trained specialists use an innovative mosquito control formula to treat all areas of the yard where mosquitoes hide, including trees, shrubs, mulched areas and all types of ground cover.

“Mosquitoes are a nuisance for many of our customers, inhibiting the time they can spend enjoying outdoor activities,” said John Bell, board certified entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. “Most people protect against mosquitoes by using a repellant or citronella candles, but these methods do not target the places mosquitoes hide including low-hanging limbs, ornamental foliage, potted plants and ground cover.”

Make regular rounds to spot trouble. Humans are creatures of habit, and that can mean certain areas of the yard receive much less traffic that other spots. Take time each week to tour the entire yard and keep an eye out for potential pest problems, including standing water in containers or low spots in the ground.

For more year-round lawn care tips, visit TruGreen.com/mosquito.

 

Increase in West Nile virus for Hoosiers

Take precautions against disease-spreading mosquitoes 

 

State health officials are urging Indiana residents to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites amid an increase in West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes across the state.

As of Aug. 16, mosquitoes in 53 of Indiana’s 92 counties have tested positive for West Nile virus and two human cases have been confirmed — one in Hamilton County and one in Lake County. There have also been two confirmed cases of West Nile virus in horses in Adams County and two in LaGrange County. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) anticipates increased West Nile activity statewide throughout mosquito season, lasting until the first hard freeze of the year around late October.

In addition to West Nile virus, a single case of California serogroup encephalitis has occurred in Ripley County. California serogroup viruses are also transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and disorientation. Severe cases may result in seizures or coma. The most common virus in this group, La Crosse encephalitis, typically causes illness in children under 16 years of age. La Crosse encephalitis is rarely fatal, but it can result in learning disabilities even after a child has recovered. The prevention measures for California serogroup viruses are the same as those for other mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile virus.

“Each year, we see people become ill as a result of mosquito bites,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams. ”Finding West Nile virus in mosquitoes from more than half of Indiana’s counties means that the risk is increasing statewide. I urge all Hoosiers to take precautions against mosquito bites, which will protect against West Nile and other viruses transmitted by mosquitoes.”

State health officials recommend the following preventive measures:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning);
  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin;
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas;
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.

Even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding ground, so residents should take the following steps:

  • Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water;
  • Repair failed septic systems;
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;
  • Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;
  • Frequently replace the water in pet bowls;
  • Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths weekly; and,
  • Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.

West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some people will develop a more severe form of the disease affecting the nervous system, including inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis or even death. People who think they may have West Nile virus should visit their healthcare provider.

To learn more about West Nile virus, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov. For important health updates, follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.

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