Welcoming the first official day of summer means welcoming more time in the fresh air and sunshine. But it also means a greater chance of itchy, and potentially dangerous, mosquito bites.
Mosquito bites can be a serious threat to public health. According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), more than one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Some of these diseases include malaria, chikungunya, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and even heart worm in dogs.
“Taking advantage of opportunities to be active outdoors this summer promotes overall good health; but we all must take steps to proactively protect our family and community from insects like mosquitoes that carry disease,” said Karen Reardon, vice president of public affairs for Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE). “Inspecting your yard and taking simple measures now will help control mosquito populations throughout the season.”
The most effective way to avoid contracting any mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquito bites. RISE created the following checklist to help homeowners prevent and manage mosquitoes this summer:
- Put up personal barriers. Wear light-colored clothing and cover up with long sleeves and pants, especially during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply mosquito-specific defenses. Be sure to apply insect repellent, like DEET, on exposed skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a variety of safe and effective repellents for you and your family.
- Reduce the population. Eliminate sources of standing water, such as old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles, clogged rain gutters, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpot saucers, and plastic wading pools, which attract mosquitoes and allow them to breed.
- Maintain your lawn. Fill in or drain low places in your yard (e.g., puddles, ruts, hollow stumps), and keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed to eliminate harborage for mosquitoes and other potentially harmful pests. When necessary, treat your yard with EPA-approved mosquito control products.
- Protect your home. Mosquitoes will make their way through the smallest openings, flying right into your home. Make sure window and door screens are intact and repair leaky faucets inside and out.