5 Tips to Stay Safe in Your Yard from the Zika Virus
Summers are synonymous with all things fun like barbecues, baseball, fireworks and splashing in swimming pools. But they also bring with them the dreaded mosquitoes!
They are capable of ruining perfectly good summer days and squeezing all the fun out of spending time in your yard. Their annoying bites can leave your skin red and itchy.
That’s not all, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus that has affected more than a million people in South and Central America is making its way across the United States.
In fact, health officials in Florida recently confirmed a few cases that were caused by the Zika virus.
More than anything, mosquitoes are becoming a real cause for health concerns. According to Wikipedia, they have already wreaked havoc since early 2015 when the massive outbreak in Brazil was caused by the Zika virus.
The threat of the West Nile virus is another health scare that North Texas is facing at the moment. According to CBS Local, a few cities in North Texas are being forced to consider aerial spraying for the first time in many years.
While you may not be able to get rid of these flying bugs completely, there’s a lot you can do to reduce their occurrence and stay guarded this summer!
Here are 5 tips that you can follow and stay safe in your yard!
Get Rid of Mosquito Breeding Sites
Did you know that a single mosquito needs only a small bottle cap-sized pool of water to lay up to 200 eggs? A little stagnant water and one to two weeks is enough to breed mosquitoes!
This is the reason why removing stagnant water from your yard is extremely crucial.
Here are a couple of things you can do:
Any items that can catch rainwater like buckets, tin cans, old tires just sitting around in the yard should be removed. If you’re using an old tire as a swing, make a few holes at the bottom, so the water does not collect on the inside.
Ensure that all the drainage areas and gutters are free of leaves and trash. This will not block any flowing water, so there’s no question of stagnant water at all.
If there are any leaky faucets or hoses, fix them. Mosquitoes are capable of breeding in the pool of water that collects under them.
Water collected in bird baths and drip trays under the pots need to be changed regularly. Change water in your pet bowls as well.
Any trash containers kept out needs to be covered. Since rain water gets collected in open trash cans, they make an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes.
If you have any kayaks, boats or inflatable pools lying outside, turn them upside down so no water can get collected in them.
If you have an outdoor pool or firewood that you cover with a tarp, then change the tarps regularly. Very often mosquitoes lay eggs in the creases. Another option is to tie them tightly, so no creases are formed.
Avoid over-watering your lawns. It will cause stagnant water and moisture and these conditions are exactly what the mosquitoes are attracted to.
Trim Vegetation and Mow Lawns
When mosquitoes aren’t prowling for your blood, they usually feast on plant nectar. So they can be found in shrubs, bushes and tall grasses.
During the day when it’s too hot, they like to hang out in cooler places. If you have heavy vegetation in your yard, they will look for such cool and damp places. The leafy tissue at the bottom of these plants are where you’ll always find them.
Keeping them trimmed and your lawn mowed will ensure that the mosquitoes don’t find any place to hide in your yard. If you don’t have the time to do it, you can always hire a professional service who will do it for you!
Treat Your Yard
You can buy lawn insect repellent and spray it around your landscaped areas, shrubs and grass. You also have an option to buy granules that can be applied to your lawn with the help of a fertilizer spreader.
The insect repellant will create a barrier and the mosquitoes won’t be able to cross it. The barrier is made with oils that repel the mosquitoes but doesn’t release any chemicals or fumes.
So, it’s a safe option as it will not harm your pets or kids when they play in your yard. The effect lasts for about two to three weeks.
When you buy the repellent, ensure that it has an EPA registration number. These are the safer ones!
Mosquito Repelling Plants
You can also look for plants that repel mosquitoes and plant them in your yard. In fact, they act as a natural mosquito repellent.
You must have probably used candles in your yard to keep the mosquitoes at bay. The citronella smell that’s used in these candles come from the citronella plant. So, why not use the real thing instead?
Citronella is a grass that requires non-freezing climate to grow in. But they can also be planted in pots where the climate is extremely cold.
You can also line your yard with peppermint, basil, marigolds, lavender as well as catnip. Mosquitoes tend to avoid all of these plants as well.
Keep Yourself Covered
You need to avoid stepping out during peak mosquito hours. They are most active at dusk and dawn. But if you must go out, then wear clothes that cover your entire body.
The places that mosquitoes look to bite first are feet, upper arms, faces and other sweaty places. Dark colors attract them too! So, wear light-colored clothes and covered shoes.
You should also consider using repellents for your skin that contain 20 to 30% DEET. Other ingredients to look for in mosquito repellants are IR3535, para-menthane–diol, oil-of-lemon eucalyptus or picaridin.
Although these tips work great for eliminating mosquito-related issues, they do require planning ahead. If they are already around, then it can get a bit difficult getting rid of them.
According to this TIME article, the mosquito menace in your neighborhood can be kept under control when you involve all the people staying there. When everyone pitches in and helps in keeping a check on these annoying bugs, your community will be safe.
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