The pest control company, Orkin, recently released its list of worst cities for mosquito populations nationwide, according to an 11Alive.com article. The list, which Orkin releases once a year, is based on how many residential and business jobs or calls Orkin gets. Guess where Atlanta ranks on the list, for the fourth year in a row?
We’re #1. Oh, yeah. Bet you never would have – slap – guessed.
Out of the 50 cities on the list, 20 of them are located in the Southeast, so we’ve got regional company. Mosquitoes might just seem like an annoying, itchy nuisance that we have to put up with since we live in a hot, humid climate, but the truth of the matter is that mosquitoes are more dangerous than you might think.
Mosquitoes carry some very scary diseases, such as West Nile Virus, malaria, and Zika, which has been known to cause birth defects in babies born to mothers with Zika. The 11Alive article reports that many Americans are not overly concerned about these diseases or mosquitoes, a trend that they gleaned from a Gallup poll. But mosquitoes are a big deal. The CDC reports that they’ve seen more than 5000 cases in the United States since 2015 and that the virus has occurred in more than 20 states.
To prevent any mosquito-related diseases – not to mention itchy red bites that are enough to drive you crazy – there are a few things you can do. It might seem like a losing battle at times, but take heart! You can defeat the biting invaders that take over your lawn. Here are some tips from the EPA to help you prevent mosquito bites.
1. Destroy the home base of the winged monsters.
To turf the mosquitoes out of your yard for good, get rid of their hiding places. Mosquitoes are attracted to certain places that they like to call home sweet home, so get rid of their homes and you’ll be one step ahead of them.
To eliminate mosquito homes, you can:
- Get rid of any standing water. This includes your gutters, buckets, toys, and other places that water can collect.
- Take care of your bird baths, fountains, wading pools, and rain barrels by changing the water out at least once a week. You’ll get rid of any mosquito homes that are taking root.
- Fill in any puddles or standing water on the ground with dirt.
- Make sure your pool is filtering and cleaning properly (if you have a pool.)
2. Arm yourself with pesticides.
You might need to resort to pesticides to get rid of the buzzing beasts. You can always call an insect or pest control professional to help you out with spraying your yard.
3. Shield your home from intruders.
Your home should be impenetrable to the tiny pests. The only thing worse than getting bitten when you’re outside is getting bitten when you’re inside. To protect your home and up your defenses:
- Take care of any cracks or gaps in your walls, windows, and doors. Seal the entrances.
- Make sure the screens on your doors and windows work and aren’t broken or frayed.
- If you have a baby, make sure that their carrier and bed are protected from mosquitoes by using netting.
4. Don your anti-mosquito armor.
If you know that you’re going to be outside and exposed to the buggy threat, try to wear long sleeves, pants, and socks. Tuck everything in (shirt to pants, pants to socks) to make sure there are no weak spots, like ankles, that could get bitten. Orkin’s website also points out that mosquitoes can still bite you if you’re wearing tight clothing, so wear-looser fitting clothes.
5. Find the right bug repellent for your needs.
For added protection, you can use an EPA certified repellent. Make sure to read the label carefully and follow the instructions to the letter. Don’t just spray nilly-willy. This stuff is strong.
For recommendations of EPA-approved bug repellents, you can visit the EPA website here and get a list based on what kind of pest you need protection from and for how long.
6. Stay indoors.
You can always hide inside, too. Sometimes you have to cede the territory to the bugs and try not to be outside in places where you know the bugs are bad. According to Orkin’s website, peak mosquito season is April through October. Mosquitoes like the warmer weather.
7. Change your outdoor lights.
Bugs like light. Mosquitoes are no exception. You can think about swapping the lights outside your house with yellow bug lights that will attract fewer mosquitoes. These lights aren’t repellents, necessarily, but fewer bugs means fewer bites.
So, if you find yourself slapping at more mosquitoes than usual, try some of the above tips. Be aware of the fact that we share our city with mosquitoes and take measures to reduce your chances of bites – and the illnesses that might come with them.
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