Mosquito season begins May 1st in Virginia. This means that you may be fighting off mosquitoes at this time, and if weather conditions are favorable, you may be dealing with them earlier. In addition to the itchy mosquito bites, mosquitoes pose a serious threat since they are known carriers of several serious illnesses including West Nile virus and the Zika virus. The can also cause St. Louise encephalitis. While not common in the United States they can also spread disease dengue fever and malaria. If you want to enjoy a mosquito free summer, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.
1. Prepare Your Yard
One of the most basic things you can do is to keep your yard neat and trim to give mosquitoes fewer places to harbor. This means trimming back your hedges and buses in the fall or spring, and cleaning out all leaf debris so they do not have a place to land. Keep your lawn short will also help your yard to dry out more quickly. You may want to place plants that naturally repel mosquitoes around your yard, especially areas where you will spend a lot of time like around your deck or garden. On your deck you can use potted plants like marigolds or lavender. Other options include lemon balm, basil and catnip.
2. Address Standing Water in Your Yard
Tackling any standing water in your yard can make a big difference. If you have a pond in your yard, you may want to stock it with fish that may feed on the mosquito larvae. You can also add a waterfall or other feature that helps the water to circulate. This will prevent mosquitoes from landing on it. Consider trading out your bird baths for small fountains. If you have corner of your yard that is swampy or rarely dries out, you may want to tackle the grading so that it can drain effectively.
3. Consider Receiving a Yard Treatment
Another option is to contact a professional who can perform regular mosquito treatments on your yard. These treatments will eliminate mosquitoes around your home, and allow you to send your children out to play without having to worry about them catching a mosquito-borne illness. When you choose to have a yard treatment done, you will no longer need to apply insect repellent every time you go out.
4. Stock Up on Mosquito Repellent
While you can take steps to stop mosquitoes in your yard, it is also important to make sure to protect yourself when you are away from home. Mosquito repellent is safe to use and it will protect you and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses. DEET is a good option, as is Picardian. These options will provide the protection you need. You can also buy clothes that are treated with Permethrin. You can also buy the treatment and apply it to your own clothing. Dressing in light colored clothes is another way to protect yourself since mosquitoes are attracted to natural colors.