The topic of mosquito threats is a big one. It is a multifaceted issue that would take several pages to cover fully. Here's an article we've written recently on the topic of mosquito control. Today, we're going to focus on the dangers associated with mosquitoes in the Pittsburgh area and offer up some strategies for reducing this threat all year long.
We all know that mosquitoes can carry and spread viruses, but few people truly understand how this works or how serious a threat it is. While it is certainly not a threat that should have us ringing our hands worrying about going outside, it is wise to take adequate precaution. Mosquitoes are directly linked to the spread of West Nile, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, malaria, Zika, and other viruses. They are also a significant vector for encephalitis. But, what does this mean? What are all of these viruses?
Nothing happens. Mosquitoes aren't born with human pathogens. You can get bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes and never contract a virus. That is one reason many people are apathetic about mosquitoes.
Simple illness. There are many viruses that will produce a fever and mild aches and pains. Even serious viruses like West Nile can result in mild symptoms. It is important to understand that every time you have a fever, fatigue, or body pain, it doesn't mean you have the cold or the flu.
Serious illness. Many mosquito-borne viruses lead to more serious symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, muscle pain, etc. If left unchecked, viruses such as West Nile can lead to death. West Nile is the most dangerous mosquito virus in the United States in terms of human fatalities.
Encephalitis. The definition of encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. If you have a fever, headache, and fatigue, you may have encephalitis. This disease can progress to a state of confusion, agitation or hallucinations. It is also associated with speech problems, paralysis, and seizures.
Zika. This virus is in a category all its own. Studies have concluded that Zika virus is able to cause microcephaly in unborn children at all stages of development. That is the kind of illness that can affect a family for a lifetime.
What is the takeaway from this? What we would like you to know is that mosquito control has a direct impact on human health. If you, your family members, your pets, or your livestock get sick, it isn't always a contagion that is responsible. Often, mosquito-borne viruses go misdiagnosed. This is something we should all be aware of.
Spring and Summer Prevention
Mosquitoes are moisture pests, and spring can be quite moist in Pittsburg. Here are some tips for addressing moisture--and why you should care.
A mosquito only needs 1 inch of water to lay eggs and reproduce. If you have any containers in your yard, it is important to prevent them from collecting water. Turn kiddie pools over when they're not being used. Poke a hole in the bottom of a tire swing. Elevate one end of a tarp to allow water to run off.
A mosquito can lay eggs and reproduce in a half cup of water. Check your gutters to make sure there are no obstructions that are allowing water to pool. Check to make sure your downspouts channel water away from your foundation. Fix any leaky spigots, hoses, or other objects that can make your perimeter wet.
A mosquito will hide in moist shaded locations during the day. Trim trees and bushes to allow sunlight to dry your foundation perimeter.
Fall and Winter Prevention
Mosquitoes don't live through the Pittsburg winters. Before the fall cold gets them, they lay overwintering eggs. Your job should be to prevent this.
When leaves are not raked up, they can create vernal pools. Mosquitoes will use these pools to make it through winter.
If leaves are put into bags and placed next to the foundation wall, they can present pools of water for mosquitoes to lay eggs in.
Reducing mosquito breeding locations in your yard and making hiding places less interesting to mosquitoes will work to reduce mosquitoes in your yard. For greater control, we recommend seasonal mosquito reduction services. A professional will treat ponds, pools, and other standing water with larvicides, apply a knockdown agent in mosquito hiding places and provide ongoing feedback about your yard's ability to resist mosquitoes.