May 24, 2019
Hot and humid weather creates an ideal environment for mosquitoes to live and breed, which explains why mosquito activity in the Washington, DC area is so high throughout the summer months. Although we often regard mosquitoes as little more than a simple annoyance, these pests are not to be underestimated. In fact, they can cause a good deal of harm to you and your loved ones if you’re not careful.
Are mosquitoes dangerous?
Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance — they’re carriers of seriously dangerous diseases.
“Mosquitoes are perhaps the most dangerous animals in the world,” explained Omar Akbari, PhD, an assistant professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, for an article on Healthline. “They are the primary vectors for major human diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, and dengue fever, which together infect hundreds of millions of humans worldwide and kill millions each year.”
Mosquitoes don’t just pose a threat to humans, but to pets as well. Other diseases mosquitoes can spread to dogs, cats, and even horses include heartworm and various types of Encephalitis.
Most Common Mosquito-Related Diseases
Mosquito bites pose a considerable health risk, with mosquito-borne illnesses causing millions of deaths a year worldwide. Here are some of the most common mosquito-related diseases present today:
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite that infected mosquitoes carry. Although this disease has been largely eradicated from developed countries thanks to clean living conditions and public health interventions, approximately 40% of the world's population is still susceptible to malaria.
This pathogen gets its name from an East African word meaning “that which bends up”, which describes the primary symptom – excruciating joint pain. While Chikungunya is rarely fatal, the symptoms can be debilitating and may persist for several weeks.
West Nile Virus
One of the most common mosquito-related diseases in North America, West Nile virus can manifest in several different ways once it infects a host. Many people who contract West Nile virus show no symptoms, while others may develop flu-like symptoms. In rare cases, the virus can attack the nervous system, resulting in serious illness.
In recent years, the Zika virus has become more of a focus when it comes to mosquito prevention. Although it’s been highly sensationalized across different media channels, Zika is a generally mild condition. However, the disease has been known to cause birth defects, which poses a more serious threat to pregnant women who become infected.
How to Avoid Mosquitoes at Home
There are several preventative measures homeowners can take to eliminate mosquitoes from their yards this summer and avoid any illnesses spread by contact with these pests.
Read more: Home Mosquito Control: What You Need to Know
Drain standing water. Mosquitoes only require a small amount to water to lay their eggs, so be sure to either cover or frequently drain any objects that easily collect water like flower pots, bird baths, or buckets.
Use mosquito repellents. Although these products won’t eliminate your pest problem, bug sprays, citronella candles, and bug zappers can help prevent mosquitoes from bothering you while spending time outdoors.
Have your yard professionally treated. While there are some steps you can take to keep mosquitoes at bay, like using bug spray and eliminating standing water in your yard, the most effective way to get rid of mosquitoes and prevent them from returning is to implement a mosquito control plan.
Our non-invasive, outdoor treatments are focused around shrubs, under decks, and other areas prone to standing water and combat both adult mosquitoes and larvae. Plus, these treatments are safe for children and pets, although we recommend keeping them away from the sprayed area for at least one hour after treatment.
Enjoy a pest-free summer this year.
CroppMetcalfe can help protect you and your family from some of the most dangerous pests in our area. If you live in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Northern Virginia and notice signs of a mosquito problem in your yard, call our 5-Star Technicians at 703-698-8855 or contact us online to sign up for a mosquito treatment plan today.
**CroppMetcalfe does not guarantee full prevention of any pest-related diseases.