“Water plus seven days equals mosquitoes,” Dr. Dina Fonseca, an associate professor of entomology at Rutgers University, told the Wall Street Journal, recently. Throughout the mid-Atlantic region, mosquito season runs from April through October, with a definite uptick in the hottest months, especially August. While we may be bigger than they are, they do outnumber us. By point of fact, there are 60 different species of mosquitoes in the Mid-Atlantic region; however, it’s important to note, it’s only the female that bites. Why? She needs your blood to give birth. If you’re the sympathetic type, that fact might tug on your heart-strings, after all, she's just a mom trying to look out for her offspring. The only trouble is, these “pests” do carry diseases from West Nile Virus to encephalitis (Eastern equine encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile virus, Western equine encephalitis).
The CDC (Centers of Disease Control), Maryland Department of Agriculture and departments of agriculture throughout the United States are focused on protecting children and families from diseases carried by backyard insects such as mosquitoes and ticks, which also have population growth in August.
Every year 1,000 Americans suffer serious illness or death because of mosquito bites. Worldwide, researchers hypothesize that the mosquito can be blamed for more human deaths throughout history than any other organism. But really, the mosquito is not the bad guy, she is just the messenger, if you will, the carrier, because the mosquito carries bacteria and parasites that cause disease. For this reason, it’s important to keep your family safe from mosquitoes.
Here are some great tips to protect your family during the summer:
- Empty and remove containers with standing water (if you empty but don’t remove the container, make sure to return weekly or after rainstorms to empty again).
- When outside, protect family members with products that contain DEET. Suggests Bruce Robinson, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, “as long as you don’t bathe in DEET or inhale too much of it, you should be fine.”
- Keep ankles and legs covered to protect again the low-flying varieties
- Wear light-colored clothes. Believe it or not, mosquitoes such as the Asian Tiger “like” or are “attracted to” dark-colored clothing.
- Stay inside during spraying
- Shut windows, turn off fans and air conditioners during application
- Bring pet supplies inside
- Cover outdoor toys
- Cover bird-baths and fish ponds
- Wait for pesticides to dry before walking on
- Apply a pesticide to your yard in early spring and another during the heat of summer to reduce mosquito populations
- Apply a pesticide to your yard during the heat of summer to reduce populations