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Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Get Rid of Mosquitoes Once and For All

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By Grace Chen

Nearly everyone has been there – the perfect picnic on a summer's day that suddenly became invaded by mosquitoes. These obnoxious little pests bite, leaving itchy, painful welts behind that can last for days. But what do you do? No one wants to forgo the pleasures of summer – fishing, the pool, barbecues, and more. But did you know that mosquitoes pose more serious health risks than an itchy bite mark?

The Diseases

About 10 percent of the 2000 species of mosquitoes live in North America. Thriving in humid and damp areas, mosquitoes reproduce quickly. Laying eggs in shallow pools of water, the eggs hatch and grow, becoming adult, biting mosquitoes. And these biting pests can carry a myriad of diseases:

  • West Nile Virus – now considered a seasonal epidemic in North America, West Nile virus makes the news nearly every summer. It causes inflammation of the brain, and can be fatal in some patients.


  • Malaria – this mosquito-borne disease can be found around the world, primarily in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. Symptoms can vary from one patient to another, and include fever, body aches, coma, and death.


  • Dengue fever – this disease can be found in the tropics, and comes from a certain type of mosquito that is active during the day time.


  • Yellow fever – found in South America and Africa, this disease does have a vaccine. However, in areas where the vaccine is unavailable, the mosquitoes transmit the disease from one person to another.


  • Heartworm – a parasite affecting household pets, the larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes. Untreated, heartworms can clog up the heart, causing cardiovascular problems and death.

Prevention

The best way to protect your family and pets is to prevent mosquitoes from biting in the first place. There are several ways that you can do this:

  • Limit breeding areas – mosquitoes love to breed in shallow, still water. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property by keeping ponds healthy, clean, and well circulated. If you have a pond, keep it stocked with fish that will eat mosquitoes and the larvae, including koi and bass. Dump out any standing water that might collect in buckets, toys, or other areas around your yard after every rain.


  • Use repellents and traps – If you are going to be out during mosquito season, make sure that everyone in your family puts on mosquito repellent. There are special products on the market for both children and pets. You can also consider a mosquito trap that will attract and kill mosquitoes, protecting up to an acre of area.


  • Be mosquito smart – avoid going out at dusk or dawn, since these are prime mosquito times. If you are going out at a time or to an area that is mosquito infested, wear long sleeves, pants, and socks to protect your skin.

Mosquito bites are not just uncomfortable – they can be potentially dangerous. Mosquitoes spread disease and discomfort, so protection is essential. Taking steps to protect your family will help ensure a happier outdoor time for all.





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