I live in Reno, Nevada. ticks, mosquitoes and fleas, are seldom a problem in this dry, high desert area. I talked to my brother-in-law this morning, and he says ticks and mosquitoes are infesting Georgia by the millions.
Being bitten by these two tiny insects can cause serious health consequences. Elmer Gray, an entomologist with the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, says, “Mosquitoes transmit wide ranges of disease that can be deadly or severely debilitating. Here in the United States, last year was a record year for West Nile virus with cases recorded in all 48 contiguous states, an unprecedented range of occurrence.”
Ticks can travel on both people and animals. They attach themselves to fur and clothing, until they are ready to attack human flesh. A diner in a Georgia restaurant was surprised by an attack of the tiny blood suckers.
“An hour or so into dinner a colleague pulled a tick off my shirt. No more than 2 minutes later I pulled one off my leg. Considering I hadn’t been outside for more than 1 minute, was only on a concrete walk, after a hard thunder shower, I doubt that the ticks came from out there. 2 nights later another colleague pulled 2 out of his arm while eating there. They had actually leeched in for a meal. Now the dining area is a very big place. He was in a completely different area than I was.”
Bug sprays are most often the choice in battling these disease carrying insects, but there are other methods.
- Avoid standing water. Mosquitoes breed in stagnating ponds, landscaping pools, and birdbaths. Clean them frequently, and if the area in which you live has several foreclosed homes, abandoned swimming pools can create a large breeding ground.
- Add some fish to any backyard ponds. “Virtually all small fish are predaceous on mosquito larvae,” say landscaping experts.
- “Green bomb them.” “The biological control agent Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies Israelensis is an excellent and completely safe mosquito larvicide. It has no mammalian toxicity, and is safe for children, pets and most other insects. This material is commonly sold as ‘mosquito dunks’ in hardware stores.” Check with your garden supply store.
- You will have less insect problems if you have more frogs, bats, and birds in your yard. They all eat insects. Possibly something as simple as a bird feeder would help decrease the problem.
- Wear light colored, loose fitting clothes. Researchers have proven that mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing. And they can bite through tight-fitting, thin clothing.
- “Citronella candles will repel mosquitoes in areas that are protected from significant air movement. Back porches, decks and patios that have features that limit air movement are good locations. Fans will help as well. Mosquitoes aren’t real strong fliers, so the typical box fan will help a lot in a limited area.”
- Try a DEET-free bug repellent. Highly rated All-Terrain bug repellent products for kids, adults and pets are DEET-free. Company President David Kulow says, “It has been reported that over 50 perecent of DEET crosses the dermal layer and approximately 17 percent gets into the bloodstream. Pregnant women should never use DEET.
- If you use a bug repellent, follow the instructions carefully. And never let children apply it themselves. Children have a tendency to put their hands in their mouths and the repellent could make them ill.
- Make certain all brush and weeds are cleared from your yard. Moist, warm areas will breed flying insects.
The Guardian Express