Mosquito Control Tips
It’s mid February and the days are getting longer. 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.
Mosquitos and Zika Virus
We don’t really understand the 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 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 wantonly spray. We are modernized, we are environmentally conscious, we are guardians of our environment. 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 which kills mosquito larva. There are misting systems which 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 pulling, 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.