May 2014 News: Mosquitoes Carry Diseases
In the May edition of the Clegg’s newsletter: Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes, The Truth About Snakes, and Bed Bugs: Affecting Homes and Businesses Worldwide.
Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes
As the weather warms up in the Carolinas, it sometimes seems that mosquitoes are everywhere. Most people consider mosquitoes bothersome, but they can be dangerous. Mosquitoes can carry and transmit a number of diseases to humans and animals, including West Nile virus, malaria, several forms of encephalitis, and other diseases that are less common in the United States, like dengue fever and chikungunya. Some of these diseases may cause serious complications or be deadly. Dogs and cats may also be at risk, as mosquitoes transmit heartworms.
Your best bet is to take steps to avoid mosquito bites. Here are some tips to help:
- Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. This is especially important if you’ll be outside between dusk and dawn since this is when the mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus are most active. Note that some of the natural repellants need frequent re-application and do not offer the same amount of protection as DEET.
- Wear pants and long sleeves, especially if you’ll be working or playing in wooded areas.
- Remove sources of standing water on your property. Mosquitoes require standing water to lay and hatch eggs, though specific environments may differ by species. On average, mosquito eggs hatch in around 10 days, so if you have areas of standing water in your yard, you should dump them out frequently.
- Make sure windows and doors you plan to leave open have screens.
- Talk to your vet about heartworm prevention drugs for your dogs and cats.
- Get more information from your pest care professional on mosquito prevention and treatment programs.
The Truth About Snakes
Many people we talk to are terrified of snakes. While there are some species of venomous snakes in North Carolina we need to watch for, in reality most snakes are harmless. In fact, snakes can be beneficial in helping keep the rodent and insect populations under control.
According to the NC Cooperative Extension, there are approximately 37 types of snakes found in North Carolina. Of these, only six are venomous. (Visit the Cooperative Extension website for some great photos of all North Carolina snakes.) The most common snakes we come across are non-venomous snakes like Black Racers, rat snakes and garter snakes. These snakes may come close to your house looking for rodents and insects. We often find snake skins that have been shed in crawl spaces where the snakes are finding (and eating) mice and rats! If you have firewood piled near the house, the snakes may hunt for food or seek shelter in the wood piles, so use caution when removing wood in warmer weather.
Bed Bugs: Affecting Homes and Businesses Worldwide
Bed bugs usually travel from place to place by hitching a ride with humans. Since we tend to be rather mobile, bed bugs can easily find their way to your home or business. Certain types of businesses are more likely to encounter bed bug infestations, but everyone is potentially at risk. We have treated hotels/motels, multi-family housing (apartments and condos), nursing homes, university dorms, public schools, military bases, firehouses (and rescue trucks), and hospitals, among others.
If you manage a business, you’ll want to read our latest article on steps you should take if you suspect a bed bug infestation. Questions? Call a Clegg’s pest professional today!