With the summer behind the corner is St. Louis, many people are organizing barbecues, picnics and relaxing days in the sun. But as the weather warms up, the parasites will begin to emerge from their hiding places. Some of these parasites, such as mosquitoes, can carry dangerous viruses, such as the Zika virus, which can pose a risk to your family's health.
There are a variety of ways you can protect yourself and your property from an invasion of mosquitoes to keep yourself and your family safe this summer and make your activities more enjoyable. open air, without the buzzing of mosquitoes.
The warmer climate brings sun mosquitoes and diseases
Jeff Phillips, President of Blue Chip Pest Services, said that mosquitoes start to emerge once the weather warms up and freezing temperatures have dropped. "In St. Louis that is starting now to some extent. We have already had some signs of breeding," said Phillips.
He said mosquitoes are most prevalent in St. Louis from April to October. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded insects, so they prefer warmer temperatures and can become annoying as temperatures rise by over 50 degrees, causing them to leave their hiding places where they spent the winter months.
Dangers of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases
Zika virus disease is caused by the zika virus. Diseases such as the Zika virus can be carried by mosquitoes and transmitted to humans when a mosquito infects the bites. The zika virus causes a typically mild illness and has symptoms that last about a week. Some infected people do not have any symptoms or show only mild symptoms such as fever, muscle pain and headache.
So far this year no cases of Zika virus have been reported in the United States. According to the CDC, in 2018 there were 72 cases of Zika virus disease reported in the United States by travelers returning from the affected areas. In the territories of the United States, there have been 148 cases of Zika virus reported with one of the cases by a traveler returning from an affected area and 147 cases coming from what was presumed to be a local transmission transmitted by mosquitoes.
Although the zika virus is not so common, a Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause severe congenital disability called microcephaly and other serious brain defects. "Zika for most people at worst is a nuisance," Phillips said. He said that apart from the risks for pregnant women, Zika is not dangerous or widespread as a virus like West Nile.
The West Nile shows no symptoms in most people, but those with symptoms may suffer from:
- Articolar pains
- Muscle pains
Although most people recover completely, the fatigue and weakness caused by West Nile virus can last from weeks to months. Some may have more severe symptoms such as:
- High fever
- Neck stiffness
- Loss of sight and more
Those who develop a more serious disease may also experience encephalitis, known as inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, known as inflammation of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. Recovery from severe illness can take weeks or months, with the possibility that some of the effects on the central nervous system are permanent. As of January 8, 2019, a total of 2,544 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC, with 49 states in the United States and the District of Columbia reported infections.
Another disease that can be carried by mosquitoes and transmitted to humans includes western equine encephalitis, which commonly occurs in states west of the Mississippi River. This virus can cause severe inflammation of the brain, known as encephalitis, in humans and horses.
Humans who are infected can experience symptoms that include joint pain, muscle pain, fever and chills. If the infection develops in severe encephalitis, people may experience symptoms like disorientation, convulsions, tremors and paralysis in some cases resulting in coma, permanent brain damage and even death.
If you have been bitten by a mosquito and experience any of these symptoms, it is essential to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
How can mosquito infestation be prevented?
"The most important thing is to eliminate nearby reproduction sources," Phillips said. "Ultimately, mosquitoes reproduce in small mirrors of water, anything from an obstructed gutter to a drainpipe to a low point in the yard. Wherever water may accumulate for a few days may be a source of breeding for mosquitoes that raise eggs and hatch ".
Phillips said there are some things that homeowners can do to help prevent them like using a larval treatment or storing a pond with fish that eat mosquito larvae such as goldfish, mosquito fish and guppies. You can also aerate your pond or water to keep the water free from mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes can also breed in tropical gardens, flower pots, rain barrels and pool covers.
To help prevent mosquitoes, it is also important:
- Inspect and clean your gutters.
- Eliminate water sources in your garden or near your home.
- Keep the trees cut and other landscapes so that the plants and your home can be dried by the sun.
By removing common breeding grounds, you can help reduce the mosquito population around your home, protecting you and your family from these potentially disease-carrying pests.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites
Phillips said that the only proven method to prevent mosquito bites is to use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET. "It has been shown to be the most effective way to prevent mosquitoes from disturbing you," Phillips said.
He said you can also wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect the skin from bites, but this is not always the most comfortable option during a hot St. Louis summer. You can also try to avoid spending time outdoors during their breakfast hours at sunrise and sunset. Also, consider wearing lighter colored clothing made of thicker fabric with a wider fit to protect yourself.
Professional services of extermination and mosquito control
At Blue Chip Pest Services, their team of experts can treat your property for mosquitoes, helping to reduce the mosquito population close to home and, in turn, reducing the risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease. First they will inspect your site to identify breeding grounds and mosquito and harbor areas.
Phillips said that one of their main treatments is to treat mosquito rest areas where they tend to collect during the day, such as green areas around the house, with a residual fog that clings to these surfaces to help reduce the general population of mosquitoes around the house. This treatment will also be done for the landscape around the house and the perimeter of the courtyard, with a heavier application in these areas if you live near a wooded area.
As an additional service, the Phillips pest control team can also treat mosquito breeding sites on your property as small lakes or ponds, if necessary. These sites will be treated with a larvicide to help prevent future mosquito generation. It is normal to still see mosquitoes after the treatment, but if you feel that there are still too many mosquitoes, the Blue Pest Services will come out and treat your yard for free again.
Contact Blue Chip Pest Services today to learn more about their Mosquito Control and other pest control services for St. Louis.