Protect Your Home and Property from Mosquitoes That Can Spread West Nile, Chikungunya, Zika Virus, & Dengue Fever
Prevention and control of mosquitoes and their bites is the best chance you will have to keep you and your family safe from mosquito-borne illnesses. Our Mosquito Guide is a good place to start. In it, you'll learn how to identify mosquitoes at their various stages and how to inspect your yard thoroughly, which will then help you take the right steps to prevent and get rid of mosquitoes to give you peace of mind. With the Zika virus outbreak in Central and South America and other mosquito-borne diseases present in the U.S., it's even more important to re-evaluate your mosquito control efforts to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect you and your family.
About the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, & Other Mosquito Diseases
These four mosquito-borne diseases were not always found in the United States. Incidences of the Zika virus have not been found to originate in the United States yet, but the same mosquitoes that commonly transmit the virus (A. aegypti, A. albopictus, and the black and white mosquito also called the Asian Tiger Mosquito) also transmit Chikungunya and Dengue fever, both of which have been found in the southern United States. While instances of West Nile, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever and even Encephalitis are not common, they still do occur in the United States.
Zika virus: Zika-infected mosquitoes themselves have not yet made it to the United States and will hopefully be contained before they do. However, there have been several confirmed cases of Zika-infected persons in the United States and all of these cases are due to people traveling to countries with active Zika-infected mosquitoes. Symptoms of the Zika virus may vary and a physician should be consulted for any detailed information related to potential symptoms.
West Nile virus: West Nile virus is transmitted by several different types of mosquitoes, and instances of this disease have spread throughout the United States. Infected people often experience mild symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, and a mild rash.
Chikungunya: This fairly rare mosquito-borne disease is not widespread throughout the U.S., with cases mostly found in southern Florida and Texas. Common symptoms include joint pain, headache, rash, fever, and vomiting.
Dengue Fever: Like Chikungunya, Dengue Fever is rare and mostly found in southern Florida. Displayed symptoms include high fever, severe headaches, vomiting, nausea, rash, and joint, muscle, and eye pain.
Mosquito Control Options:
Treatment(See our complete Step-By-Step Mosquito Treatment Guide for more treatment details.)
There are a variety of mosquito control products on the market, so it's important to understand your options before choosing the best products for your situation.
The two most effect outdoor mosquito treatment methods are:
Spray Mosquito Hideouts: Concentrated insecticides applied to specific areas of your yard can greatly reduce your mosquito population. Used once a month on average, these products need to be applied with a pump sprayer. Treatments should be focused on the dark, humid areas where mosquitoes like to hide during the day, like in dense brush, under leaves of trees and bushes, and under decks, etc.
Use Mosquito Misting Systems: A mosquito misting system works by dispensing a measured amount of insecticide concentrate in timed intervals, which allows for long term, continuous outdoor mosquito control. You will need a mister, which holds and dispenses the product, as well as a misting insecticide concentrate. It can be an expensive investment, but using this mosquito control system allows hands-free application at the right amounts and at the right time of day.
Other Treatment Options
Traps are an alternate solution for those concerned about the presence of chemicals and pesticides in their outdoor living spaces. Dynatrap is a popular trap brand that, without chemicals or refills, effectively attracts and traps mosquitoes and other insects continuously and with little effort on your part. Repellent devices are available to try that don't have to be applied to your skin but are contained in small units that create a mosquito-repellent barrier. The ThermaCELL system uses butane cartridges to heat up repellent and disperse it into the air, which makes it easy to keep mosquitoes away when spending time outside. Using multiple units at once can create a perfect, mosquito free space.
Prevention(See our complete Step-By-Step Mosquito Prevention Guide for more prevention details.)
Taking the following steps to prevent mosquito harborage can go a long way in reducing the overall mosquito population in your immediate area:
Reduce breeding sites: A single female mosquito can produce a few thousand offspring in her short lifespan, so reducing or eliminating standing water (where mosquitoes lay eggs) will make a big impact on mosquito populations. Even a little bit of standing water can provide a place for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Eliminate all standing water, including gutters, small puddles in your yard, planters, buckets, and the like. If, for some reason, the water can't be eliminated, consider treating the standing water with "mosquito dunks." These small treated briquettes can be used in virtually any standing water site and are even safe to use in water features that hold fish or attract wildlife.
Reduce resting areas: During the hottest part of the day mosquitoes rest in shady areas like bushes, tall grass, plants, and even piles of yard debris. Make your yard less attractive for resting mosquitoes by keeping your grass, shrubs and bushes trimmed, and by removing unnecessary plants that may provide harborage.
Reduce access to your home: Keep all screens in good repair. Inspect and repair any gaps in window or doorframes. Remember to keep doors and windows closed if there are no screens installed - especially at night.
Protect Yourself And Your FamilyPersonal mosquito repellents and repellent products are a powerful tool in protecting yourself from mosquito bites. They are especially important when you plan on being outdoors for an extended period of time, and not just in the morning and evening, since many species of disease-carrying mosquitoes are active during the day.
We carry personal protection sprays that contain DEET - one of the most effective mosquito repellents - as well as products that are applied directly to clothing. Both of these are very useful if you plan on being in heavily wooded areas, or areas near water sources, for several hours.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when using mosquito repellents:
Apply mosquito repellents as often as the label allows, but take care not to apply them more than the label directs. Wash any clothing that has been treated with repellents before wearing them again. Each type of mosquito repellent will have varying lengths of effectiveness. The current weather and the activity you are doing can affect how long and how well your mosquito repellent will work. Read labels carefully and choose the product best suited for your conditions.
Even when it's hot outside, cover as much skin as possible with cool, breathable clothing. Also, consider wearing mosquito repellent treated clothing for added protection.
Do your research before traveling. Consult the CDC to see if there are any mosquito disease outbreaks occurring in your destination. If you are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant, consult with your physician before visiting countries where the Zika virus is reported to be active.