Post-Harvey: Tips to reduce mosquitoes and “Fight the Bite!”

flooding_boots.jpgAs the flood waters recede, Environmental Services would like to remind residents to take precautions against mosquitoes, as their population can greatly increase. Help to control population growth – today!

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 

Prior to Hurricane Harvey, no local spread of  Zika, dengue, or other viruses spread by Aedes aegypti or Ae. albopictus mosquitoes had been reported in Houston or the areas affected by flooding. Although the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey is severe and an increase in mosquito populations is expected in the coming weeks, CDC does not expect to see cases of Zika appear in the area because of flooding.

West Nile virus is primarily spread by Culex mosquitoes. Cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Texas this summer. CDC does anticipate additional cases of West Nile virus to be reported throughout the summer, but not as a result of flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

The best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites and viruses spread through mosquito bites is to prevent mosquito bites.

Here are some basic tips for you, your family, and your home:

Enjoy the outdoors
• Wear repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.
• Cover up with long, light, loose clothing.
• Use oscillating fans to keep air moving across porches and decks and weak-flying pests away.
• Keep mosquitoes outside by using air conditioning and keeping windows and screens in good shape.

Prepare your home
• Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs
• Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
• Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
• For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
• Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
• If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.