Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide (the air we exhale) and can sense it from up to 30 yards away. Mosquitoes are also drawn to body heat, moisture, movement, and dark colors. In addition to professional mosquito control, there are some things you can do at home to reduce mosquito bites.
- Eliminate areas with standing water once a week
- Keep gutters clean
- Remove any litter from yard – mosquitoes can lay eggs in small, discarded items that hold water, such as cans, bottles, wrappers, etc.
- Correct drainage issues, if any
- Dress in light colored, loose fitting clothing when outdoors
- Use GE yellow “bug lights” – these do not repel mosquitoes but, unlike incandescent lights, do not attract them
- Use citronella candles, although they only have a mild effect
- Place a large fan on decks or patios – mosquitoes are weak fliers
Not only do mosquito bites hurt…they can also come with serious side effects, including anything from an allergic reaction to the spread of disease. These are the diseases most commonly carried by mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus
- Most cases diagnosed in early fall months (August-September)
- Most people bitten by mosquitoes carrying the disease will not show symptoms or be affected
- Disease is more likely to develop within people that have a weakened immune system, are pregnant, or elderly
- Mild forms of the disease can cause fever, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, rash, sore throat, or muscle aches
- Severe forms of the disease can cause loss of consciousness, muscle weakness, stiff neck, or confusion
- Disease is best avoided by preventing mosquito bites (see How to Prevent Mosquitoes above)
- Rare condition, often caused by mosquito bites
- Causes swelling of the brain
- More likely to affect young children or elderly adults
- Transmitted to dogs through mosquito bites
- Worms will live and reproduce in the heart and lungs of dogs, impairing normal organ functions
- Severe cases can cause weight loss, shortness of breath, cough, weak muscles, changes in vision, heart failure, or death
- Prevention is key – treat your dog with medications designed to keep them from contracting the parasite and have them tested regularly by a veterinarian