The weather has been unusually warm in 2012. It’s led to the belief the insect population would explode. How might that effect West Nile Virus 2012? Cases have been already been reported, and it’s a disease that runs it’s course through the fall. As a homeowner, its best to be prepared and know what to do to eliminate mosquito breeding.
West Nile Virus 2012: Preventative Tips for Your Yard
Generations of mosquitoes will lay eggs in the same area if standing water is present. Believe it or not, but it only takes about 4 days for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus 2012 to mature to adulthood.
Diligent removal of standing water around your entire yard is key to preventing mosquitoes from breeding. In many parts of the country this may not be an issue this year, but others have seen enough rain that they should follow these steps.
- At least 2 times per week, check pool covers, saucers under flower pots, garbage cans, recycling bins, etc. and remove any standing water. Don’t forget to check places where you don’t go frequently, like your shrub beds, under your deck or your crawlspace.
- At least 2 times per week, refresh water in pet bowls, livestock watering tanks and bird baths.
- If you have a kiddie pool, remove all the water in it and store it tipped on its side.
- Clean up around your yard, looking for things that naturally collect water like containers, plastic bags, or old tires. It only takes a few tablespoons of water for pests to breed.
- Nothing is as fun as a tire swing. If you have one, drill a hole in its base so water won’t collect in it.
- Rain barrels shouldn’t be left open to the elements. They should have a screen to cover them that a mosquito couldn’t get through.
- Mosquitoes can get in your home at prime breeding times (see below) if door and window screens are torn and don’t fit snugly over their openings.
- Have a pond? Consider aerating it. Aerated water moves across its surface, making it unfriendly to mosquito larvae.
West Nile Virus 2012: Your Gutters
People don’t regularly check their gutters for standing water, but shallow puddles are more common than you’d think. Puddles form when debris sits in your gutters. With many trees dropping leaves early this year, it’s worth taking out your ladder to check them.
Over the winter, your gutters may have pulled away from your house. Run water from a hose down them to see if water pools anywhere. Add in hidden gutter hangers where necessary to avoid puddles that start without any help from debris.
In certain US states and Canadian provinces that deal with West Nile Virus annually, consider protecting your gutters with a gutter guard designed to keep out mosquitoes, such as MasterShield. If you can see an opening in your gutter guard, then assume its a place where mosquitoes are already breeding. Get up on your ladder and flush out all your gutters. Plan on doing it again later in the season.
Things to know about the West Nile Virus 2012
- You can’t “catch” West Nile Virus 2012, you get it by being bitten by an infected mosquito. Therefore, the steps you and your pets take to avoid getting ill consist of eliminating getting bitten by mosquitoes.
- Use a quality mosquito repellant, try to avoid being out doors when mosquitoes are most active, which is at dawn and dusk. Even with the hot weather, you’re safest to wear pants and long sleeved shirts at these times. Keep in mind mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so brighter, lighter colors are better to wear.
- The active ingredients in your mosquito repellant are important. It should contain IR3535, DEET, PMD (Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus) or Picaridin to ensure long lasting protection.
- If you find a dead bird or squirrel, don’t ever touch it with your bare hands. Birds and, in some cases, squirrels are West Nile carriers. For directions on how to dispose the body, contact your local health department.
- People over the age of 50 are more at risk for developing more serious symptoms from West Nile Virus 2012. One in 150 people will develop severe cases of the disease and there is no specific treatment for a West Nile infection. Fortunately, 80% (eighty percent) of infected people will show no symptoms at all.
- Don’t put small children or infants at risk. Consider covering strollers or carriers with mosquito netting.
- Symptoms of severe cases to watch for symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions muscle weakness, vision loss paralysis and coma.
- Milder symptoms include fever, skin rash on chest, stomach and back, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and swollen lymph glands.
- You can get sick 3 to 14 days after being exposed.
Tracking West Nile Virus 2012
The CDC offers this West Nile Virus 2012 tracking map to track both Human and Non-Human activity by state. This map will be updated throughout the year.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has had a Human activity West Nile Virus map. It does not appear to be available at the current time, but information when available can be found through this link.