MILLEDGEVILLE — Prodigious recent rainfall could spell an annoying and often dangerous increase in mosquito populations.
Standing water around the house serves as an ideal breeding ground for the blood-sucking insects. Bug House Pest Control general manager Billy Matthews noted a rain-related jump for residential and commercial spraying.
“As the temperature goes up and humidity increases, you are going to see a lot more breeding activity especially with the amount of water we have. You have a lot of water sitting in places it’s not going to move. That’s just a perfect combination for a mosquito to lay eggs,” Matthews said.
Public Information Officer for the North Central Health District Jennifer Jones said people should be diligent about draining water out of toys, tires and birdbaths or face more mosquitoes.
Among other diseases like encephalitis and yellow fever, mosquitoes carry the well-known West Nile Virus (WNV). Jones says the public health realm expects cases each year.
“Not only are mosquito bites annoying, they could end up causing you illness as well,” she said. “We just don’t know where it’s going to show up.”
According to the last three years of Center for Disease Control WNV statistics, documented Georgia cases jumped from 22 in 2011 to 99 last year. West Nile also caused six deaths in 2012.
Jones said it’s hard to tell how severe this year will be, but people can take preventive measures to protect their families from disease carrying mosquitoes.
Remember the 5 D’s.
• Dusk and Dawn
That’s when mosquitoes are most active. Limit time outside during peak buzzing hours.
Wear loose fitting long sleeve shirts and pants. Bright colors also deter the insects. Removing skin contact area is the only true way to stay safe.
This ingredient found in popular bug sprays is the most affective bite repellent, according to Jones. Matthews suggested a simple home remedy for temporary mosquito relief. When grilling, throw sage or rosemary on the coals. The bugs can’t stand the smell.
Empty buckets, barrels, cans, plastic swimming pools or other household objects that accumulate water. Proper drainage limits breeding space.
“It only takes the amount of water in a 2-liter soda cap for mosquitoes to breed,” Jones said.
Don’t letter gutters stay full. The moisture breeds the pests. Grills and boat covers and even firewood piles should be monitored as well.
Empty your pet dishes everyday.
Make sure doors, windows and screens are in good condition to prevent mosquito access.
The season usually lasts from March through September. Pest control experts can spray shrubs, plant and exterior wood lines where the insects hang out during the day.
Matthews said this only provides up to one month of relief per chemical treatment.
“The customer has to understand it’s control not elimination,” the Bug House manager said.
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