MAY 6, 2016, NAPLES, Italy (NNS) – It’s that time again for mosquitoes, so here’s some helpful information on what you can do to help protect yourself and your loved ones.
Mosquito bites can cause skin irritation through an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva — this is what causes the red bump and itching.
A more serious consequence of mosquito bites can be the transmission of viruses and diseases. Something to keep in mind is mosquitoes can also transmit parasites and diseases to our pets. Ensuring the protection of all of your family members is important.
All mosquitoes require water to breed. Breeding environments can include ponds, ditches, old tires, litter, buckets, toys, potted plant trays, saucers, plastic covers, tarpaulins and even bottle caps. Eliminating standing water sources is a tremendous help in reducing the mosquito population.
Here are a few ways to stay protected from exposure to mosquito bites:
– When possible, stay inside or in screened-in areas when mosquitoes are active. Most mosquitoes tend to be more active around sunrise, sunset, and early evening.
– Cover up. Put on long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes to protect against bites.
– Plug in a fan. This will help you keep cool and keep mosquitoes from landing on you. Mosquitoes are not very efficient flyers, even in wind speeds as low as 5 mph.
– Use an outdoor yellow bug light. Use them on your porch and around your house. Standard lighting will attract mosquitoes, while yellow bug lights are almost invisible to most insects. Insects typically see blue or UV light as really bright, while yellows and reds are in a spectrum less visible if at all.
– Use repellent. Repellents containing Picaradin, DEET, IR3535, or some products containing oil of lemon-eucalyptus have been shown to be effective in repelling mosquitoes when used as directed. Note: oil of lemon-eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three.
– Eliminate standing water especially around your home. A teaspoon of water is enough to lay eggs and complete a mosquito life cycle. Correcting drainage problems and avoiding overwatering lawns can also help. Some mosquitoes will lay their eggs in moist soil and as soon as water pools the eggs will hatch.
The unnatural water pooled around homes make a great habitat for mosquitoes. Vector disease-carrying mosquitoes like the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes albopictus love to breed in these types of habitats — especially where moist soil or containers are located. Their flight range is about 300 feet from where they are bred. They are more noticeable than other mosquitoes because they can be active in the daytime if disturbed and have a characteristic white strip down their back.
With emerging mosquito-borne diseases, removing breeding sites and following proper guidance is critical. If a female mosquito is infected with a disease she can pass it on to her eggs, and thus the next generation is infected with the disease without ever having to receive their first blood meal. Therefore, eliminating breeding sites is imperative to assist in the reduction of the mosquito population and risk of contracting a mosquito-borne illness.
As a proactive measure the USNH Naples Preventive Medicine Department frequently monitors the mosquito population on Support Site. When the number of mosquitoes is found above baseline levels, mosquito treatments are focused at those areas.
Regarding pets, owners should follow the first line of defense guidelines provided by veterinary services to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy. Use pet-specific repellents that are active against fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and sand flies to keep your pet safe from insect-borne illness.
Help prevent mosquito-borne diseases; take action to personally protect yourself, your family and your pets. Do your part in eliminating water around your home where mosquitoes can breed. If you see areas of standing water such as potholes or areas of poor drainage, report them to the Public Works Department. Public Works will take the necessary measures to resolve the issue. Identifying problems helps keep our community safe.