mosquito bite

We all know that mosquitoes leave itchy welts, and itchy welts are enough incentive, on their own, to make us want to limit our exposure to mosquitoes. But is it enough incentive to do what is necessary to properly address this issue? For many of us, spraying a little bug spray on is all the precaution we'll ever take. While getting some itchy welts is uncomfortable, it's no big deal. We can suffer through them. And many of us aren't too worried about mosquito-borne viruses. Those are something "someone else" gets. But are they? Here's what you need to know.

Mosquito-borne viruses such as Zika, West Nile, malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, and dengue spread by mosquito from person to person and from mammals to people. Some of these viruses have a reservoir here in the United States and some do not. A reservoir is an indigenous animal that holds a virus through the winter. Mosquitoes only live about two months and they are not born with human pathogens, so they can't carry viruses through the winter. They need a reservoir in order to contract and spread these diseases. But a local reservoir isn't needed for an outbreak to occur. When Zika virus was in the news constantly, you probably heard many commentators talking about travel cases. This is when someone contracts a disease and carries it from one location to the next. When they do, they bypass the need for a local reservoir.

The world is getting smaller and smaller. It takes a matter of minutes for someone from South Florida or Texas to bring Zika, West Nile, and other locally-transmitted viruses to Tennessee, and it only takes hours for a traveler to get from Africa or South America to Nashville International Airport. That means an outbreak of any of these mosquito-borne viruses can occur at any time. All it takes is one infected traveler.

State health agencies work to protect residents of the state from outbreaks. They track these viruses when they appear and they send out alerts as the threat rises. But each of us should be working to protect ourselves, and our families, before sickness breaks out. This protection can be separated into three categories.

Personal Mosquito Protection

  • Repellent is the number one way to reduce bites. A repellent with DEET works best. If you don't like spraying chemicals on your skin, consider a repellent with something natural such as oil of lemon eucalyptus. You can also spray repellent on your clothing to prevent bites.

  • Wear long sleeves and pants if possible. This gives mosquitoes less real estate to bite.

  • Wear bright colors to make it hard for mosquitoes to target you.

  • Avoid locations where there are typically more mosquitoes, such as marshes and woodlands.

Mosquito Protection In Your Yard

  • If you'll be in one location, use fans to keep mosquitoes from landing on you.

  • Be aware that mosquitoes are drawn to body heat, CO2, and sweat. If you're working out in your backyard, mosquitoes will notice.

  • Refrain from going out in the morning or evening when mosquitoes are most active.

Mosquito Reduction

If you own property, it is important to do the following to reduce mosquitoes on your property. These can help to break the vectors for virus transmission and drastically reduce the bites you receive in your yard.

  • There is no better way to reduce mosquito populations than to invest in mosquito services from a professional provider. A professional will address breeding sites on your property that require a larvicide, and they will apply EPA-approved products to locations where mosquitoes hide so that mosquitoes are being actively terminated in your yard. This is a powerful one-two method that can sometimes reduce the number of mosquitoes in a yard to zero.

  • Mosquitoes are moisture pests. Anything you do on your property to reduce still water accumulation will result in fewer mosquitoes. Fix leaky spigots and damaged gutters, loosen compacted ground, trim trees to allow sunlight to dry rainwater, store objects that capture rainwater, and such.

  • Remove bug zappers. Studies have shown that these devices lure in mosquitoes but are only effective at terminating male (non-biting) mosquitoes.

If you need assistance with mosquito reduction and you are in our Tennessee service area, let Russell's Pest Control help. We've been providing Knoxville and East Tennessee with industry-leading pest control for over 40 years. You can trust our team to give you the best service available.


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