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Mosquitoes Are Fierce Competitors

Home / Expert Advice / Mosquitoes Are Fierce Competitors

Olympic_RingsIf killing humans were an Olympic event, mosquitoes would be the equivalent of Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle.  Diseases spread by mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths far ahead of any other cause earning mosquitoes the title of the deadliest animals on earth.

Malaria alone accounts for more than 600,000 deaths each year, then add dengue, chikungunya, West Nile, and a menagerie of encephalitis diseases on top of that.  Zika virus has become the latest contender and has dominated the headlines this year as it rapidly spread from South America up into North America and into the United States.

Zika Virus

stopmosquitoes_456pxThe symptoms of Zika virus infection range from being mostly mild to severe flu-like symptoms.  However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects including microcephaly and may also be linked to neurological disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The symptoms of Zika virus infection range from being mostly mild to severe flu-like symptoms.  However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects including microcephaly and may also be linked to neurological disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Forty-five states have confirmed cases of Zika with the vast majority of them contracted by people traveling to infected areas. The CDC and WHO have issued travel advisories urging people to take precautions when visiting Zika infected areas.  This was a big concern for people traveling to Brazil for this year’s summer Olympics.  Recently it was reported that people were contracting the virus locally in south Miami and extreme efforts have been made to curtail the mosquito vectors, including releasing sterile males to help crash the population.

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has worked diligently to track the Zika virus and works with local county mosquito abatement programs to create emergency response teams ready to implement control tactics if an outbreak of Zika occurs.  To date, 42 cases of Zika have been reported in South Carolina and all but 1 has been contracted from traveling overseas.  The one exception was contracted by sexual contact with an infected person.   The virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes in the Aedes genus (mainly A. eagypti and A. albopictus which are both prevalent in the southeastern U.S.).  The virus can also be spread sexually and through blood transfusions.

How to Protect Your Family 

B33A1434With government agencies working hard to track the virus and local mosquito abatement programs stepping up their control efforts, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also take steps to reduce local populations.  It is just as important, if not more so, for everyone to participate in helping to protect themselves and their family and friends.

While county mosquito abatement programs help in reducing the general mosquito populations in public areas and municipalities, they have little effect on your own backyard.  The species of mosquitoes that spread Zika virus generally do not fly far from their breeding spots which may be on your property.  The best thing you can do is to have a reputable pest control service that offers mosquito management, like Terminix Service, Inc., to inspect, evaluate, and treat your yard on a monthly basis.  Our mosquito management professionals are trained to treat adult resting sites and to recognize and eliminate potential breeding sites.  Resting sites are treated with residual pesticides applied at very low rates which are safe for people and pets to interact with once dried.  When potential breeding sites are identified, they are either eliminated or treated with an insect growth regulator that prevents larvae from becoming blood sucking

Our mosquito management professionals are trained to treat adult resting sites and to recognize and eliminate B33A1336potential breeding sites.  Resting sites are treated with residual pesticides applied at very low rates which are safe for people and pets to interact with once dried.  When potential breeding sites are identified, they are either eliminated or treated with an insect growth regulator that prevents larvae from becoming blood sucking disease-carrying adults.  You can also help by:

  • Eliminating clutter that can hold water
  • Keeping bushes trimmed
  • Making sure gutters are not clogged
  • Dumping out any containers that are holding water.
  • Any time you venture outside it is advisable to wear mosquito repellent products that contain DEET or Picaridin.

There are a lot of “home remedies” that people use to try to control mosquitoes such as so-called mosquito repellent plants, bug zappers, mosquito magnets, and carbon dioxide mosquito traps.  While some of these things may kill a few mosquitoes, none are as effective and efficient as a monthly mosquito management service from Terminix.

Even though we are getting close to the end of summer it’s never too late to start this service which is provided through the end of October or until mosquito activity ends.  Treatments then pick back up in April when the season begins next year and you will already be ahead.  The more people who become proactive in reducing mosquitoes the less established Zika virus will be and we can beat the mosquitoes in this particular event.