Mosquito season is in full swing! I seem to attract mosquitoes every evening when I am outside, and I sure don’t like those pesky insects or their bites. Aside from the nuisance, mosquitoes can also carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Chikungunya, Dengue fever, and Zika. We heard a lot about Zika in the news last year, and Zika is still an issue in Texas.
Zika is a mild virus compared to other mosquito-carried illnesses. Only one in five people infected with Zika will feel ill with mild symptoms including fever, joint pain, red itchy eyes, and a rash. Symptoms typically occur two to seven days after being bit by an infected mosquito. The greatest concern about Zika virus is related to pregnant women who can pass the virus on to their unborn babies. Health officials believe this may result in a birth defect known as microcephaly.
What can we do to prevent the spread of Zika virus? The best plan is to control the mosquito population and prevent mosquito bites.
- Drain or dump any standing water around your home such as clogged gutters, bird baths, flower pot drain dishes, toys, wading pools, wagons, and wheel barrows. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water, so do your best to dump potential breeding sites.
- Dress to discourage mosquito bites. If you are outside for an extended period of time, wear long pants and loose fitting, long-sleeve shirts.
- Day, dusk, and dark. Mosquitos are most active during dusk and dark, so avoid being outside during those times.
- Defend yourself with mosquito repellant. Deet and other mosquito repellents recommended by the CDC are the best defense if you are outdoors when mosquitos are active.
Mosquito control is something we all need to help with. Do your part by draining and dumping any standing water you see around your home or neighborhood to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. Remember to use the mosquito repellent when you are enjoying the great Texas summer weather.
For more information about Zika virus or mosquito control, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 254-435-2331.