Is Mosquito Control Safe for You and Your Family?

Is Mosquito Control Safe?
Don’t ask if my mosquito control is safe, ask am I safe from mosquitoes!

 

Is Mosquito Control Low Risk?

Is Mosquito Control Safe or are there dangers from treatment I am not taking into account? Spring is coming even though as I write this it’s now 11° outside. With spring come the bugs. And that’s typically something that we as pest control operators look forward to happening. Not this year. I believe as does many of my fellow pest control professionals that this year will be different. This year we have Zika and a number of other Mosquito-borne diseases we all have to pay attention to. With the onslaught of new viruses and the ever-expanding threat of disease in my opinion it is better to treat to reduce the risk. 

Mosquitos and Zika Virus

We don’t really understand the Zika virus yet. We know that the mode of transmission is of course through the Aedes mosquito and subsequently through contact with bodily fluids. But we don’t know all the health effects that are associated with this virus. We’ve been told of microcephaly, increased risk of miscarriage, ongoing health effects to any child born that has been exposed to this in the womb, and recently the possible link between Zika and Epstein-Barr. Right now the Aedes Aegypti is the primary vector But we’ve also been told that the Asian tiger mosquito can quite possibly be a vector as well. The Asian tiger mosquito carries a number of well-known viruses and unfortunately has made its home in the US. One of the major problems with this mosquito is that it bites around the clock. Whereas many mosquitoes are more prevalent at dusk and dawn the Tiger will feed 24/7. In addition, it is a much smaller and faster mosquito. It is very difficult to swat. So what can be done? Mosquitoes can breed by the hundreds and even an area of water as small as a bottlecap. In my area in Northeast Pennsylvania, there are plenty of boggy areas where millions of mosquitoes are able to breed. In inner cities where we have tires, cans, sewers, dilapidated housing, etc. we have the unfortunate situation of innumerable breeding areas. This I believe is going to lead to widespread spraying. Just like back in the 60s with the smoke man driving down through the streets for mosquito control we are going to see that again. Aerial spraying I’m sure will be taking place as well. You may think I am all for the widespread use of pesticides. After all, this is my profession. Unfortunately, that is what many people think. Do you know that the military is the largest user of pesticides in the world? After that is the general public then comes the farmers and all the way down at the very end of the scale are pest control operators. We do not excessively spray. We are modernized, we are environmentally conscious, we are guardians of our environment. So I believe instead of asking if my mosquito control is safe we should be more worried about the deadly diseases the mosquitoes carry and how can we all work together to reduce the risk. And unfortunately due to the health risks associated with this virus widespread spraying may be the only way to combat Zika.

Tips For Controlling Mosquitoes

There are things that you can do. There are things that you should do not only to protect your family but to protect your neighbor as well. Survey your property. Find areas of standing water and make sure that they are emptied on a regular basis or treated with items such as dunks which is an organic product that kills mosquito larva. There are misting systems that use things such as essential oils on timers that will go off around your home and act not only as an insecticide but also as a repellent. Make sure that gutters are directed away from the home, the water is not standing, and the gutters are clean so that they do not provide a breeding area. If you have trees that have natural bows that store water place a dunk there for the times when it rains or fill them with cement. This might be a lot of worry over nothing. But when the World Health Organization, as well as many other health organizations around the world, are all raising the alarm. I think it’s time to sit up and take notice. You can read about the WHO’s emergency preparedness program here.

How Do I Make Sure I Am Mosquito Control Safe?

Yes, Mosquito treatments can be safe when precautions are taken not to expose people to pesticides. Mosquito control safety is about much more than using pesticides. It is looking at ALL avenues of control.  Mosquito control for the backyard may mean using an organic treatment utilizing essential oils, a low-dose insecticide that is allowed to dry fully prior to exposure by people or pets, simply using BTI dunks in areas of standing water that are not easily controlled, reducing standing water in receptacles around the home and using plants for mosquito control. I think rather than ask is Mosquito Control Safe I would ask how open am I to expose my family to the risk of these vector bloodthirsty insects? When you order a Mosquito control service you can get a complete list of precautions, what treatments they will be using, you can request an organic program or a 25B reduced risk treatment plan all designed to reduce exposure to mosquitoes as well as exposure to insecticides. We cannot state that pesticides are safe to use. The EPA licenses them, the manufacturers test them. But the way they are applied, what you choose to apply, when and how coupled with all the physical measures that can be taken will certainly reduce the risk of exposure to the product but also the diseases these flying insects transmit. 

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