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/National Pest Management Association) - They want to suck your blood! We aren't talking about the characters from those popular vampire movies, but rather summer's pesky mosquitoes. It's not only time for backyard barbecues and afternoons by the pool, but it is also the season that brings us 200 species of biting, buzzing, bothersome mosquitoes.
Dr. Jorge Parada, spokesperson for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), cautions that mosquitoes
are not just a nuisance pest. "Mosquitoes in every region of the country transmit disease-causing pathogens that can trigger a range of symptoms and illnesses. In the United States, West Nile virus and allergic reactions are some of the more frequent concerns." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 1,000 reported cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in the United States in 2010 (the latest year for which data are available).
To minimize your family's risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, there are certain precautions that should be taken. NPMA recommends the following steps:
* Wear insect repellant when outdoors. Products containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus have proven to be safe and effective. (Parents should consult with their pediatrician for repellent recommendations.)
* If you will be outdoors for long periods where heavy mosquito activity is predicted, consider wearing clothing treated with permethrin.
* Eliminate sources of standing water around your home, including flower pots, clogged gutters and grill covers. Take proactive measures by drilling holes in the bottom of recycling bins, and replacing water in birdbaths weekly.
* Inspect window/door screens for holes, and repair any tears to minimize chances for entry into
* If bitten, clean the area thoroughly with soap and water. Avoid scratching the bite area and apply anti-itch cream if necessary.
Some homeowners feel a sense of security by using citronella candles, but it's worth noting that while they may minimize the mosquito population in a targeted area, they will not eliminate the insects nor prevent them from biting.
For more information on protecting against mosquitoes or to find a professional who can help control them, visit www.pestworld.org