Doesn’t matter where you see standing water – in your plant saucers, birdbaths or kiddy pool — you’re looking at a potential breeding ground for a mosquito-borne disease that’s emerging in Florida, Texas, Illinois and New York. As imported cases of Zika virus continue to surface in the USA, here’s what we’re telling our landscape crews — tips you can benefit from, too.
Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus are daytime biters, so consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to limit skin exposure when you’re outside for extended periods of time. Wear an effective insect repellent with at least 20% DEET, Picaridin or oil-of-lemon eucalyptus.
If you’re a homeowner, you should consider screening all your windows and doors or patching the holes in the screens you have. Mosquitoes are already buzzing outside this spring, and believe us, they’ll find a way to get in through the smallest opening. See that standing water on your grill cover and inside your rain bells? Those are great places for a female mosquito to lay her 300 eggs, so shake them out, tip them over — whatever you have to do so you won’t have adult mosquitoes 8 to 10 days later.
Just so you know, only about one in five people infected with Zika virus becomes ill, displaying symptoms of headaches, fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. In general, though, most cases cause no symptoms. Those infected should stay well hydrated and get plenty of rest.
Our best advice? Get your neighborhood buzzing — not with mosquitoes but with ways everyone can pitch in to prevent Zika virus. Just because your plant saucers are water-free doesn’t mean mosquitoes are going to call it day and disappear. That cute little birdbath in your neighbor’s yard probably looks pretty inviting to them about now. For more information, visit www.npmapestworld.org and stay tuned to ArtisTree for more updates.