People love to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air when spring weather arrives. Mosquitoes feel the same way about warmer weather. As temperatures rise, millions of people and the 59 species of mosquitoes who call Ohio home will become more active. Fortunately, most of Ohio's mosquitoes are not human-disease carriers.
However, experts warn communities to expect more spring and summertime cases of mosquito-borne illnesses including Zika virus. Although vaccines are being developed to reduce the prevalence of Zika, until they're effective, you must protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito bites to avoid Zika and other diseases. Here are four things you can do.
1. Start at Home by Closing Off Access
Begin preparing your residence now for mosquito season. First, find any places where mosquitoes can gain access to your home. Some species of mosquitoes can breed and live indoors, so you want to close off any cracks, holes, or gaps leading into your home.
- Door frames
- Window casements or frames
- Exterior caulking and seals
- Basement and foundation
All of your screens must be properly installed with intact mesh to keep mosquitoes from flying in through windows. Check screen frames to ensure there are no bent or broken places that create openings for biting pests.
These non-chemical methods of mosquito control are part of what's known as integrated pest management (IPM). Your pest control company has more IPM tips and tricks to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.
2. Say No to Wet Breeding Areas
Address areas around your home that could be used as mosquito breeding spots. Standing water of any sort is the perfect medium for a mosquito nursery. Some mosquitoes can breed in a spoonful of water, so you must diligently keep your property as dry as possible.
Empty any standing water in:
- Buckets and containers
- Tires and garden equipment
- Patio furniture
- Children's toys
If you have a bird bath, an outdoor animal watering container or a kiddy pool in the backyard, empty and refill it at least once a week. While you're doing this weekly task, take the time to check around your yard for any new mosquito breeding spots and remove them. Repair any leaky outdoor faucets that are creating breeding pools.
3. Choose Recreation Spots Carefully
Since mosquitoes require water to survive, they tend to be most abundant around small lakes, ponds and other sleepy bodies of water. To avoid mosquito bites while hiking and camping, choose recreation spots in dryer areas during the warmest months of spring and summer. Plan visits to wetter areas for early spring and autumn.
A stiff wind is often enough to keep mosquitoes from landing and taking a bite. Coastal areas, larger lakes, rivers and areas at higher elevations have more air movement to keep mosquitoes from swarming. Choose these breezy spots for recreation during the height of mosquito season.
While there are some mosquitoes who bite people throughout the day, Ohio mosquitoes will be most active and numerous from an hour before to an hour after sunset. If you want to swim, fish or boat during the summer, quit your activities a few hours before sunset to minimize mosquito exposure.
4. Use Safe Deterrents
There are many products on the market designed to repel mosquitoes. Most of these products are safe for older children and adults. Ask your doctor for product recommendations if you have any health concerns about the ingredients in over-the-counter bug repellents. Follow all instructions on the repellent package for the best results.
Avoid products with combined sunscreen and bug repellent. Use separate products instead. Apply sunscreen and let it dry. Then, apply bug spray or lotion over the sunscreen layer.
Wear clothes with built-in bug deterrence. Shirts, pants and hats are available with bug repellent enmeshed in the fabric. You can also purchase clothing spray that won't harm fabrics but adds another layer of mosquito protection.
Contact Patton Pest Control for mosquito-control services. We target both larvae and adult bugs on your property for complete coverage, and we offer mosquito control for special outdoor events including weddings, kids' parties and family reunions.