Mosquitoes: Small But Dangerous
Mosquitoes are typically smaller than a shirt button, but they can pose big health risks. More than 200 species are found throughout North America, some of which can transmit West Nile virus and other viruses that cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 19,500 cases of West Nile have been reported in the United States, including more than 750 deaths, since the virus was first identified in New York in 1999. Serious symptoms of West Nile virus can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, convulsions, vision loss and paralysis; and the disease can even be fatal.
Furthermore, mosquitoes cause major health problems internationally by carrying and transmitting infectious agents that cause diseases such as malaria, elephantiasis, and yellow and dengue fevers.
“Not only are mosquitoes dangerous, but they’re also annoying, ranking among the most frequently encountered pests in American homes,” says Frank Meek, entomologist and Technical Director for Orkin, Inc. “It is important to protect yourself and your family against mosquitoes, especially in summer and early fall, when populations are most prevalent.”
Fortunately, 90 percent of Americans realize that mosquitoes are capable of spreading disease and adversely impacting health, according to a recent survey released by Orkin, Inc. Armed with this knowledge, homeowners should proactively follow these tips to help protect against mosquito populations thriving in and around their homes:
• When outdoors, apply an EPA-approved insect repellant on clothing and exposed skin.
• During prime mosquito-biting hours of dusk to dawn, wear long sleeves and pants in addition to repellant, or consider staying indoors.
• Make sure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and have no holes.
• Remember, mosquitoes only need a thimbleful of water to breed and survive, so eliminate breeding sites by emptying standing water from objects around the home, including flowerpots, buckets, tire swings and children’s wading pools. Change the water in pet dishes and birdbaths regularly.
Controlling mosquito populations can be difficult, but professional help is available through Orkin, the only national pest control provider offering treatment services against these dangerous pests.