Stay safe from mosquito-borne illnesses with these simple tips
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 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 and 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,” says 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, the elimination of standing water decreases a mosquito’s breeding ground. Mosquito Squad technicians report that 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.
Take care of your home. Proper maintenance can be a deciding factor in property values and mosquito bites. Regularly clean out gutters and make sure the downspout is attached properly. Mosquito Squad recommends re-grading areas where water stands more than a few hours, and to regularly check irrigation systems to ensure that they aren’t leaking and causing a breeding haven. Keep lawn height low and areas weed-free.
Team up with neighbors. Despite taking all precautions in your own home, talking with neighbors is a key component to mosquito control. Townhomes and homes with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor’s home, and affect your property.
Treat your yard and yourself. Utilize a professional mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body.
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. For more information, visit www.MosquitoSquad.com.