We all know that mosquitos are more than just a buzzing nuisance. Mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of numerous viruses all over the world with dynamic consequences. Fortunately, there is good news so far from the Centers for Disease Control. The Centers remind us that “mosquitos and ticks can’t spread all types of viruses.” Also, there is “no data to suggest that COVID-19 or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes or ticks.”
Such news is reassuring, but celebrating National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 21-27, will help assure that upcoming outdoor activities will be safe and enjoyable for all.
Here are some tips to help control mosquitos. These tips come from Dr. Sonia Swiger and Dr. Mike Merchant, both entomologists with the Texas A&M University System.
• Drain or dump - Remove any standing water around your property. Even small amounts of water, especially with combined with organic materials, like leaves or dirt, provide a great place for mosquito larvae to grow and develop. Scummy pools and birdbaths are ideal places to grow mosquitos, but do not forget to check buckets, tires and anything that can act as a receptacle for water.
• Day, dusk and dark - Despite what some say, mosquitos are capable of biting at any time of day or night, making other precautions even more important. Mosquitos are capable of biting when the temperature rises above 55 degrees F.
• Dress - While it is likely warm outdoors in Texas, it is important to cover up to limit a mosquito’s opportunity to bite us. We should wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outdoors. A tight weave of cloth is recommended as mosquitoes might be able to bite through loosely woven fabric.
• DEET - We should use a mosquito-repellent containing DEET or one of the following ingredients: IR3535, Picaridin, or oil of eucalyptus (paramenthane-3, 8-diol). There are numerous repellants on the market that do not contain any of these ingredients.
For a hub of extension-related resources related to the COVID-19 situation visit agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/coronavirus/
Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent in Parker County.