Ah, how the senses are awakened during the summer. There’s a smell of fresh fruit, fire pits, bug spray; the sensation of sun-kissed skin, chlorinated hair, and itchy bug bites; the sound of splashing in the swimming pool, trees rustling in the gentle breeze, mosquitoes buzzing beside your ear.
While summer is full of wonderful activities and details, some– like pest control– are not so appealing.
June 23-29 is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, according to a news release sent by the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD).
The news release detailed a list of tips from the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), hoping to help Douglas County residents avoid mosquito-borne illnesses this summer.
As the Independence Day weekend quickly approaches, the DCHD understands folks will be spending a lot of time outdoors. They urge people to follow the “Three D’s:”
Drain: Empty water containers at least once a week.
Dress: Wear long sleeves and pants, as well as loose-fitting clothing.
Defend: Armor up with an approved mosquito repellent. These contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-methane-diol (PMD), or 2-underanone. Consumer Reports lists their best picks for mosquito repellents at this link.
Other important facts to remember are that mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors and standing water, making grills and pools the ideal resort for these insects. Maintaining your home as a mosquito-free environment may involve disposing of any tires, keeping fresh water in pet dishes and changing water in birdbaths on at least a weekly basis.
The news release also suggested drilling holes in the bottom of any containers that might collect water will help and clearing debris from gutters.
“Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycles,” said Joseph Conlon, AMCA Technical Advisor. “If their water source is eliminated, so are their offspring.”
Small tasks like those listed above are vital to eliminate the threat of mosquitoes, which are definitely a bother but can be even more dangerous when carrying illnesses such as Zika and West Nile Virus.
Douglas County’s individual residents are not the only ones expected to weaken the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses.
The DCHD works annually during each mosquito season to reduce mosquito breeding with the use of larvicides, decrease standing water through public outreach, monitor mosquito populations and diseases and engage in bird testing, as mosquitos prey on animals, as well as people.
“Mosquitoes are the potential source of several serious health problems,” said DCHD director Adi Pour. “We all have a role to play in keeping each other safe from them.”
To see an interactive map of current and historical mosquito populations and mosquito surveillance collected by the DCHD– and for more information on its efforts– visit the DCHD’s website.