After the unusually mild winter, the Belmont County Health Department is concerned that this spring and summer will bring a surplus of mosquitoes and ticks.
The cause for concern arises because there were no sustained periods of freezing, the insect population didn’t get depleted. Officials urged property owners to act now to prevent what could lead to serious illnesses.
Zika Virus gets all the national attention, but here in the Ohio Valley mosquito bites can cause West Nile Virus and three kinds of encephalitis. Health officials said we need to remove all breeding grounds by eliminating standing water.
That could be anything from tires and baby pools, to bird baths and even bottle caps, “But even knotholes in old trees that have water in them, the mosquitoes can lay their eggs in there and they can breed from there, toys, etc., pretty much any opportunity of standing water that they can lay their eggs in. Again, light colored clothes, long sleeves, anything you can use to limit the area for the mosquitoes to bite you,” said Belmont County Health Department Deputy Director, Rob Sproul.
Ticks could also be a big problem this year. Health professionals advise to pull them out with tweezers and treat the area with rubbing alcohol.
They also suggest that pets should be on a flea and tick preventive and people should use insect repellent that contains DEET.
Anyone walking in the woods should tuck their pant legs into their socks.