Most of the country is in the midst of mosquito season, so we asked our Twitter followers to send us their questions about the pesky insects. Here are the top five questions, answered by the Orkin Man and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- How can I reduce the number of mosquitoes in my yard?
Landscaping can go a long way in helping reduce the mosquito population in your yard. Adult mosquitoes enjoy lush vegetation, so pull out the weed whacker, and trim back any overgrown bushes and plants. Keeping your yard well-maintained means there are fewer places for mosquitoes to hang out and multiply. Also make sure to remove standing water from gutters, bird baths, dog bowls and other places where water can pool and the immature mosquito larvae can grow – especially after a summer rain. Last but not least, you can call your Orkin man to come treat your yard, too.
- How do I keep mosquitoes from following me inside after our backyard cookout?
Make sure you eliminate entry points into your home. Keep doors and windows closed, install window and door screens and ensure such screens are in good repair with no holes, and make sure pet doors stay closed as well.
- Should I be worried about my pets getting mosquito bites?
Mosquitoes can bite all sorts of animals including pets. For dogs, potential risks include heartworm and in rare cases West Nile virus. The Aedes vexans mosquito transmits dog heartworm, and its flight range can be upwards of 10 miles. The good news is there haven’t been any reports to date about pets or other kinds of animals contracting the Zika virus, and there’s also nothing to suggest that Zika is spread to people from animal contact. To reduce the chances of your pets being bitten, make sure to regularly empty and re-fill their water bowls outside to reduce the chance of creating a mosquito breeding ground.
- How can I help protect my children from mosquitoes?
Dress children in loose–fitting clothing that covers their arms and legs. Use EPA-approved repellents and always follow the label on the container. Don’t use insect repellent on babies under the age of two months old. For children older than two months, adults should apply insect repellent onto their hands, and then apply it to the child’s skin. Take care to avoid sensitive areas like their eyes, mouth and any cuts or irritated skin. Also avoid younger children’s hands. You can use the same products you use for yourself, and the CDC recommends repellents that are EPA-registered and have either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.
- Do we need to worry about Zika this year? How can we help reduce the risk?
Zika virus remains a concern in multiple countries and territories including the continental United States. The best way to reduce possible infection by the virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Make sure you take precautions to keep mosquitoes away from you while at home and while traveling, especially if you are traveling to or live in an area where there is a CDC Zika travel advisory www.cdc.gov/travel/. Women who are pregnant and couples considering getting pregnant who live in or are traveling to such areas should take extra precautions to keep from being bitten by mosquitoes.