Pest control company Orkin recently put out a new list of the worst mosquitos in the US, now Zika and other mosquito transmitted illnesses may be a concern to some in the Washington DC metro area.

As summer nears most are getting out more often, waiting for the pools to open and just plain happy that the cold winter weather has gone away until at least November.  But with the good always comes the bad, soon most of Us will start to grow tired of the dog days of summer and extreme heat as well as the seasonal allergies and in case you forgot, -bugs, flies and mosquitos.

While Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia hardly seem like places where bugs and mosquitos are bothersome, anyone who has visited the Shenandoah and parts of Maryland on the river, Chesapeake Bay as well as in the mountains of Western Maryland knows that annoying mosquitos and bugs are no stranger to the area.  Now as temperatures start to rise, mosquitos are becoming more and more of a nuisance in the DC area as the little blood suckers start to fill the air and buzz in our ears.  The pest company Orkin’s list revealed that cities of the southeast and mid-Atlantic make up most the worst mosquito ridden areas, Washington DC is ranked third while New York, Miami and Chicago are in the top five while Atlanta remains the worst.

Besides the annoyance caused by the presence of mosquitos, now some may be wondering of the potential health concerns the mosquitos’ presences raises.  While little bugs and flies may seem benign and harmless, mosquitos are one of the earth’s most dangerous pests to humans as well as to animals.  While only in certain parts of the world are diseases such as Malaria and yellow fever spread by the mosquito population, nevertheless within the US mosquitos can spread dangerous illnesses and diseases such as the West Nile Virus.  This does include the Zika virus, although few cases have been reported in the nation, however no area except maybe for Alaska is excluded from potential danger. 

So, what should you do?  DC area residents are not under an immediate threat and the odds of contracting the virus are very low however residents should take steps to guard against transmission, particularly women who are pregnant as their babies can end up with birth defects in the occurrence of a Zika infection by the mother. 

 

Of the precautions you can take, one is using conventional mosquito and insect repellants with higher concentrations of picaridin or DEET (roughly 23% for anyone over the age of two months).  Other “natural” preventative measures such as using the oil of lemon eucalyptus are useful in preventing mosquito bites but contain lower concentrations of DEET than insect repellants do.  Placing a fan on your patio whenever you eat outdoors is a good idea and helps to reduce the number of mosquitos buzzing around and biting.  Cleaning your gutters can help to eliminate standing water as also will dumping your birdbath twice a week, emptying wading pools and disposing of water filled containers.  You also can add a microbe named Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis to your aquatic water garden or any standing water on your property that is conducive to mosquito breeding.  The donut shaped tablets the microbe comes in are placed in water and kill mosquito larvae.

 

Other preventative measures recommended by the CDC include:

-Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

-Staying in air conditioned places

-keeping window and door screens closed

-Sleeping under a mosquito nets if you are r outside and are can’t protect yourself from mosquito bites.

-Keeping pool water treated and circulating

-Trimming shrubbery, -adult mosquitoes like to rest in dark areas

-Eliminating Entry Points

-Repairing and using window and door screens

-Closing gaps around windows and doors

Published by Ville Iso-Ahola