Stay safe from mos­quito-borne ill­nesses with these sim­ple tips

Maryland Independent - - Community -

De­spite re­cent news that Aedes ae­gypti, the mos­quito that can carry Zika, chikun­gunya and other viruses has spread to 30 states, the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans have yet to em­brace ba­sic rec­om­men­da­tions to help re­duce the mos­quito pop­u­la­tion at their own homes.

That’s the re­sult of a new sur­vey fielded by TNS Global de­tail­ing homeown­ers’ knowl­edge of steps to re­duce mos­qui­toes in their yards. Ac­cord­ing to the Mos­quito Squad’s “Fight the Bite” re­port, nearly three quar­ters of Amer­i­cans (74 per­cent) do not plan to mod­ify their time out­side this year, yet less than half (49 per­cent) fol­low the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) rec­om­men­da­tion to use mos­quito re­pel­lent. Just a third (36 per­cent) re­move stand­ing wa­ter, a sim­ple task also rec­om­mended by the CDC, to re­duce mos­quito breeding.

“Un­like chikun­gunya and West Nile virus, Zika has been iden­ti­fied as a world health cri­sis and we must work to­gether on per­sonal, lo­cal and global lev­els to fight mos­qui­toes,” said Scott Zide, a founder and pres­i­dent of Mos­quito Squad, the largest and most ex­pe­ri­enced home and com­mer­cial mos­quito con­trol firm in the coun­try. “Re­moval of stand­ing wa­ter is the most es­sen­tial tac­tic in mos­quito elim­i­na­tion, yet homeown­ers aren’t ac­tively re­mov­ing it, which is sur­pris­ing given that mos­quito con­cerns are so high.”

Ac­cord­ing to Zide, just as sur­pris­ing was the find­ing that 46 per­cent of homeown­ers sur­veyed said they did not plan to do any­thing dif­fer­ent in their yards, de­spite re­cent news of Zika virus. Find­ings from the sur­vey show:

• Only 36 per­cent of Amer­i­cans turn over toys or items in their yards that con­tain wa­ter.

• Less than half (44 per­cent) throw out lawn de­bris, un­der which mos­qui­toes can breed.

• Just a quar­ter of Amer­i­cans (25 per­cent) shake out tarps, in­clud­ing bar­be­cue and fire pit cov­ers, to re­move wa­ter that ac­cu­mu­lates.

• Less than 27 per­cent make sure their gut­ters are clean.

• More than a quar­ter (27 per­cent) walk their yard reg­u­larly to re­move items that can har­bor mos­qui­toes.

To help homeown­ers take con­trol of their yard, Mos­quito Squad ex­perts urge cus­tomers to take an ac­tive role in mos­quito con­trol with the fol­low­ing tips:

• Tip over any­thing that holds or col­lects wa­ter. A bot­tle cap filled with wa­ter holds enough wa­ter for mos­qui­toes to breed. Since mos­qui­toes breed in stand­ing wa­ter, its elim­i­na­tion de­creases a mos­quito’s breeding ground. Yards with bird baths, play sets with tire swings, tree houses, por­ta­ble fire­places and pits and catch basins are the big­gest of­fend­ers.

• Toss any yard trash in­clud­ing clip­pings, leaves and twigs. Even the small­est items can pro­vide a haven for mos­qui­toes and in­crease the pop­u­la­tion.

• Turn over items that could hold wa­ter and trash. Look for chil­dren’s por­ta­ble sand­boxes, slides or plas­tic toys; un­der­neath and around down­spouts; in plant saucers, empty pots, light fix­tures and dog wa­ter bowls. Elim­i­nate these items or keep them turned over un­til used.

• Re­move tarps that can catch wa­ter. Many homeown­ers have tarps or cov­ers on items re­sid­ing in their out­door spa­ces. If not stretched taut, they are hold­ing wa­ter. Check tarps over fire­wood piles, por­ta­ble fire places, re­cy­cling cans, boats, sports equip­ment and grills. Mos­quito Squad sug­gests us­ing bungee cords to se­cure tarps in the yard.

In­di­vid­u­als who want a more com­pre­hen­sive mos­quito con­trol treat­ment can uti­lize Mos­quito Squad, which uses the lat­est EPA-regis­tered mos­quito con­trol bar­rier treat­ments, lar­vi­cide and all-nat­u­ral sub­stances to elim­i­nate mos­qui­toes from yards and out­door spa­ces. Go to www.MosquitoSquad. com. Brand­point

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