How much do you know about mosquitoes? Most Monmouth County residents are aware that mosquitoes can spread dangerous viruses, but they understand little about how mosquito-borne viruses are spread.
Do you know that most deadly mosquito-viruses are not local to the United States? It’s true. Malaria, as an example, is the deadliest mosquito-borne virus in the world. This virus is not found locally. The only way you’re currently going to become sick from this virus is to be exposed to a mosquito that has bitten someone who has recently returned from a country where malaria is endemic. The same is true of Zika virus, chikungunya, dengue fever, and yellow fever.
Do you know that West Nile virus is the deadliest mosquito-borne virus in the United States? This is because this virus can be found in local populations of wildlife. When mosquitoes bite infected wildlife and then bite you, you can become sick. West Nile is a virus that causes encephalitis (a swelling of the brain). It is one of several mosquito-borne viruses that produce this symptom. Many have “encephalitis” in their names, such as La Crosse encephalitis, Eastern and Western equine encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis.
Do you know that the mosquitoes that bite you in your yard are mosquitoes that live in your yard? This fact ties together what we’ve spoken about so far. Mosquitoes don’t zip from yard to yard to find a blood meal. They’re far too lazy for that. Most mosquitoes won’t travel more than a few hundred feet from where they hatched. Yes. Feet. So the next time you go outside and find yourself surrounded by mosquitoes, remember that those mosquitoes didn’t fly from your neighbor’s yard to swarm around you. They came out of your landscaping and other shaded locations on your property.
How To Protect Yourself
You are already somewhat protected from mosquito-borne viruses as many viruses are not endemic to the United States. Watch the news and be on the lookout for outbreaks.
The viruses you should be looking for most are West Nile virus and other viruses that cause encephalitis. If you have a headache, you may have contracted one of these. If symptoms worsen, seek medical attention. There are an average of 130 deaths annually in the United States. In a population of more than 320 million, your odds of dying from West Nile are low, but you can get very sick.
If you take steps to address the mosquitoes in your yard, you can provide a greater level of protection for you and your family. There are methods and products that work to prevent mosquito reproduction.
What You Can Do
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or on damp ground. If you address the conditions that allow mosquitoes to breed on your property, you can reduce mosquitoes.
- Inspect your yard and remove anything that captures rainwater and holds it for more than a week.
- Clean your gutters and make necessary repairs to your gutter system.
- Water your landscaping in the morning to provide plenty of time for the sun to dry things out.
- Remove grass, weeds, and any other unnecessary vegetation from your landscaping and trim bushes, shrubs, and plants. This allows the wind to dry your landscape vegetation and topsoil.
Your plants need moisture, but your landscaping doesn’t have to be damp. When you reduce moisture and remove water sources, you can have a big impact on mosquitoes. You need to also keep in mind that male and female mosquitoes eat plant sap and nectar. They will come into your yard to feed on your vegetation. When they do, it is important that they don’t find ideal conditions in which to breed. One female mosquito can lay a hundred eggs at a time.
You can also take personal protection steps to avoid mosquito bites on your property and when you’re away from your property.
- Wear bright colors to make it more difficult for mosquitoes to lock onto you.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants to reduce skin exposure.
- Apply a mosquito repellent to your skin or to your clothing. If you don’t want to apply chemicals to your body, we recommend using a repellent that is derived from oil of lemon eucalyptus.
What We Can Do
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