Post Hurricane Mosquitos…What’s the buzz all about?
We’ve all been noticing more mosquitos since Hurricane Irma. Even if you don’t see them, you hear that unmistakable buzz. They can see you and smell you, so if you feel like they’re stalking you, it’s because they are.
Mosquitos love our warm, humid climate, and thrive here year-round. Hurricane Irma brought lots of heavy rainfall, flooding and standing water, and created a perfect breeding ground for the little bloodsuckers – and they have been multiplying like crazy.
Many of us saw the news story that showed a photo from Hernando County Mosquito Control of a mosquito trap that would normally have about 500 mosquitos – but instead, it had more than 26,000!
And they were trapped in only 4 hours.
Just looking at that photo made a lot of people feel itchy.
If you missed the story, click here to read it
Besides being annoying, and making us itch like crazy, mosquitos can also carry diseases.
Some of the best-known diseases are:
- Zika Virus
- West Nile Virus
- Dengue Fever
- Canine Heartworm – which can be deadly to dogs.
There are many others, including several types of Encephalitis, La Cross Virus and Chickungunya. – they are all very unpleasant, and not something any of us wants to experience. (More tips on avoiding mosquito bites here)
There was concern that there could be an increase in Zika Virus cases following Hurricane Irma, and it continues to be closely monitored.
Cities and counties have been working aggressively to eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitos and reduce their population. Homeowners can also reduce the number of mosquitos that are breeding on their own property. If everyone continues the effort, we may be able to keep Zika from becoming another post-hurricane headline.
What is Zika?
Below are some basics about the Zika Virus – you can learn more here ZIKA FREE Florida
Zika Fever is an illness caused by a virus similar what causes Dengue Fever and West Nile Virus infection.
Zika is most commonly transmitted through a mosquito bite, though it can also be transmitted through sex, even if a partner does not exhibit symptoms. A pregnant mother can pass the Zika Virus to her unborn child, which can cause serious birth defects.
The most common symptoms of Zika are: Fever, Muscle Aches, Rash, Headache, Joint pain and Conjunctivitis (red eyes), but only 1 in 5 cases will show symptoms.
Zika is typically mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week, and people usually don’t get sick enough to require hospitalization. Of course, if you think you might have Zika, you may want to get tested.
Did you know that only female mosquitos bite?
That’s because they require protein to produce eggs. The males wont bother you, since they feed on flower nectar, and not people.
Perhaps we should consider it a good thing that only half of mosquitos bite us, imagine how much worse it would be if BOTH males & females bit humans!
Things you can do to prevent being bit:
- Use insect repellent. Apply it to any exposed skin.
- Put mosquito netting over your bed.
- Keep window screens and screen doors closed tight, and repair any holes in the mesh of your lanai screen.
- Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and wear long pants.
- Have regular mosquito treatments applied to your property to control the population.
For more information on mosquito bite prevention visit: Mosquito-borne Prevention.
But if you do get bit, how do you STOP the itch?
There are numerous treatments available over the counter, as well as home cures and natural remedies.
Some of the most popular store bought options include:
- Calamine lotion – the same chalky, pink stuff we all grew up with
- Hydrocortisone cream (steroid) – contains corticosteroids to reduce redness, swelling and inflammation
- Antihistamine (such as Benadryl) – will reduce the histamines your body is releasing, and relieve the itching
Some Home & Natural Remedies:
- Green Tea: Hold a cold, refrigerated, damp tea bag on the bite – it’s soothing and anti-inflammatory
- Oatmeal bath – Colloidal oatmeal can be very soothing to irritated skin
- Honey – It has antibiotic qualities, and can relieve the itch, just be careful the sweetness doesn’t attract more bites!
- Aloe Vera – Anti-inflammatory, and is even more soothing if it’s refrigerated
- Basil – Rub a fresh basil leaf on the bite. It helps stop the itching, plus, basil repels mosquitos!
- Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizers – can provide short-term relief from the itch, but may be drying to the skin
- Listerine – The same blue mouthwash we all know, apparently the menthol is cooling & soothing on bites
- Preparation H – Yes, the hemorrhoid cream – it’s supposed to be anti-inflammatory, so it could potentially help with itching and swelling
- X – Mark the bump with an ‘X’ using the tip of your fingernail
- Spooning – Press the back of a warm spoon against the bite
These remedies all offer different levels of relief to different people. You may need to try several of them to figure out which one will give you the best results.
Heartworm (or for you scientific nuts out there, Dirofilaria immitis) is transmitted when an infected mosquito bites a dog– and it is deadly if not treated. You can protect your dog with a heartworm preventative from your veterinarian. (More Info Here)
How to prevent hurricane mosquitos from making themselves at home on your property:
There are many types of DIY treatments that can kill adult mosquitos and their larvae, from sprays to pellets, but pest control professionals provide the most effective treatments. Learn what we are doing here at Lawn Care Extraordinaire.
Remove any standing water from your property
Hurricane mosquitos can lay their eggs anywhere that water accumulates, even as little as 1” deep, so make sure you don’t have any standing water around your yard. Rain can accumulate in many places outside your home, and it creates a perfect environment for mosquitos to breed.
- Be sure to clear up any areas on your property where water collects: on tarps, pool covers and garbage cans, birdbaths, gutters, in buckets or flower pots, or old tires, etc.
- Turn kayaks, boats and canoes upside down so water wont collect in them.
- Empty pet water bowls daily and refill with fresh water
- Keep pool water chlorinated, and empty kiddie pools when not in use.
Don’t let mosquitos hold you hostage in your home.
Lawn Care Extraordinaire can reduce the mosquito population by 72-87%, after just one treatment. Give us a call so we can help you enjoy the outdoors again!