PONTIAC (WWJ) - While most of us have been enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures, the mild weather that seems to be ahead of schedule has its down sides. The Oakland County Health Division says it has caused mosquitos to arrive early this year.
Kathy Forzley, Director of the division, said warmer than normal spring temperatures have resulted in the mosquito season starting two to three weeks ahead of the usual late March/early April hatch of spring floodwater mosquitoes.
Forzley is urging people to help keep the mosquito population low. One way to do that, she said, is to get rid of standing water in your yard.
"A lot of people have backyard ponds and they don't have them up and running yet, but they might have water in those pools of water, or they might have bird baths with standing water," she said.
Forzley said spring mosquitoes don't usually transmit West Nile Virus or other mosquito-borne diseases, but reducing mosquito breeding sites now can reduce the number of mosquitoes later on.
"We normally put this type of messaging out later, in April or May, it goes along with that season and sometimes it's not even a problem until June. So, this is really, really early," she said.
Some prevention measures to reduce the mosquito population and mosquito-borne disease include:
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home. Empty standing water from flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, old tires, buckets, barrels, cans and similar items where mosquitoes can lay eggs. For a list of other non-chemical mosquito control suggestions, visit the State of Michigan Emerging Disease Issues website.
- Use an insect repellent that contains an active ingredient approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Carefully follow manufacturer's instructions, especially when using these products on or around children. More information can be found on the EPA website.
- Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present.
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors.
- Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Mosquitoes can be infected with West Nile Virus or other mosquito-borne diseases by biting a bird that carries the virus. The virus can then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito.
Most people infected with West Nile Virus or other mosquito-borne diseases have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache and body aches. In some individuals, mostly the elderly, however, a much more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop.
For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health.
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