What Is West Nile Virus?
In honor of West Nile awareness week, this article discusses what the virus is and how you can become better prepared for it. The first reported case was in New York City in 1999. The West Nile Virus has spread across America like an epidemic. It seems that there is no easy way to eradicate the disease. So the best defense we have is education. Sharing the information we have about how mosquitoes breed and carry the disease will prevent others from being bitten. We can prevent the mosquitoes from being born and becoming carriers of the disease at all.
How Common Is It?
West Nile Virus comes and goes in surges, but it never ever really goes away, making it particularly dangerous. The reported cases of infection grow and the population is lulled into a carnal security. They are thinking that it could never happen to them. They think they will never be infected. This results in a carelessness and a casual attitude toward mosquito disease.
In 2013, a total of 2374 cases of West Nile Virus have been reported with 114 deaths attributed to the disease. This is down significantly from 286 deaths in 2012. In 2014 the West Nile Virus has a strong potential to exceed the 2013 numbers due to the mild winter. Nevertheless, there is no surefire way to know what kind of mosquito season we will have this year, but one thing we can be sure of is our level of preparedness.
How To Keep It From Spreading:
Transmission of the virus occurs through mosquito bites. The primary defense we have against the spreading of disease is preventing mosquitoes from biting you, your kids and your pets or animals. Click here to shop for mosquito & pest control products
Use Mosquito Repellents:
Naturally people automatically think of mosquito repellent sprays as the primary defense against mosquitoes. However, they are widely varied in their cost, features and functionality.
Wear Protective Clothing:
Perhaps the greatest protection against mosquito’s bites is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants whenever possible. You should also use a spray or repellent. This is because it’s not impossible for the mosquitoes to bite you through the material of your clothing.
Be Aware Of When Mosquitoes Are Most Active:
Just like cell phones and power companies have peak hours, so do mosquitoes! If you know when these hours are, than you can easily avoid them and keep them from ruining your outing! Mosquitoes come out in full forces most often around dusk and dawn times of the day. Plan your day to avoid early mornings and late nights so you will experience fewer mosquito attacks.
Don’t Let Water Sit & Collect:
April showers also bring standing water though, which brings forth new mosquitoes! NOW is the time to spread the word about mosquito awareness and most specifically West Nile Virus awareness. Empty any stagnant and free standing collections of water. Simply dump them out and turn the vessel upside down. You can also prop it up so that it will not refill with water.
Ways To Prevent Mosquitoes From Collecting And Breeding:
Contact Pest Control Services:
- Contracting with a local pest control business will ensure that your property is pest free on a regular basis. With regular treatments of the property on a frequent basis the mosquito population will stay low throughout the entire season. However, this type of service can be expensive and prohibitive.
Use Mosquito Killer Machines:
- Use a fertigation/pestigation unit that is already attached to your existing sprinkler system. These units are an all-in-one plug-and-play solution for all your fertilizing and pest control needs. It simply uses the existing sprinkler system to apply fertilizers and/or organic pesticides through the sprinkler heads to the grass. It irrigates parts of the property thereby creating an effective boundary for pests. Units are available starting around $950. They are installed quickly and easily by either a certified installer or a savvy do-it-yourselfer. This may sound like an expensive investment initially. However, it is cost effective because it will continue to serve the property for years to come.
Dump Standing Water Or Add Chemicals To The Water:
- There are some areas of your yard and/or property which are prone to gathering puddles. Tarps and tires are two of the most infamous offenders when it comes to standing water. Perhaps you have a rain collection barrel designed for capturing water or catch basins installed to carry away drainage water. These are prime targets for mosquito breeding. This is because they are physically obscured and hidden away from view.
- It is recommended that homeowners use an all natural super product to protect these areas. Apply an appropriate measure of liquid cedar oil to the water (such as Best Yet & PCO by CedarCide). The oil acts as a barrier by creating a thin layer on top of the standing water and repelling mosquitoes.
- Secondly the oil will dehydrating and prevents any eggs that it comes in contact with from hatching. So it can be used effectively in several situations. (this type of oil is the same kind used in the sprinkler fertigation/pestigation units.)
More Tips For Standing Water:
- Eliminate standing water on your property. Turn over kiddie pools, trash cans and lids and anything else that can act as a container for rainwater. Fold and properly store all tarps in cool dry indoor area (tarps are a major offender for mosquito breeding grounds) Bring all tires indoors away from the sprinklers or rain (tires are prime mosquito breeding grounds due to their shape; they easily retain water and provide protection from sunlight and the elements. Tires imported into the US have been the source of new insects and pests being introduced to the country. Spray water collecting prone places down with the Cedar Based product to keep mosquitoes from returning.
- Change water catch pans for flower baskets. Most flower pots have a water catch dish to allow excess water to exit out the bottom of the flower pot. This water needs to be discarded at least once a week. Treat the newly cleaned dish with cedar oil. This prevents the mosquitoes from returning when the water fills back up.
- Bird Baths and water fountains keep the water running regularly to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. If the water is not running, clean out the old water weekly and treat with cedar oil.
- Permanent standing water – Some water cannot be emptied or it is intended to be there. Examples include rain barrels, drains and catch basins etc. For these situations it is recommended that you apply a liberal amount of Cedar Oil based product to the water. Best Yet it is an oil based product that will float on the top of the water causing a barrier against mosquitoes. The oil will remain there until it is washed away or emptied.