With Suffolk County officials recently confirming that the West Nile virus had been found in multiple mosquito samples, you might be wondering what you can do to take action.
East End Tick & Mosquito Control owner, Brian Kelly, has shared ten tips that will keep your outdoor living area at the optimal anti-mosquito level:
1. Drill holes in the bottom, not the sides, of garbage and recycling containers that are kept outdoors
2. Keep gutters clean and unclogged
3. Keep swimming pools clean and chlorinated, even when not in use
4. Walk around your property after a rain and look for areas in the landscape that are not draining well, be sure to handle the grading
5. Ornamental ponds should be aerated to keep water moving and discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs, stagnant water serves as mosquito breeding grounds
6. Dump anything that holds water twice per week if it has rained such as birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, garbage can lids, pottery, and flowerpot saucers
7. Don’t leave water in pet bowls for more than two days
8. Keep the property clean of items that can hold water
9. Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
10. Keep the landscape clean and trimmed
For those planning a large gathering, Kelly advises that you spray the area. “Nothing shy of putting a giant mosquito net around your property will keep them away for any great length of time,” he noted. “It’s up to Mother Nature to determine how quickly they all come back. For immediate satisfaction, we suggest spraying for those special occasions.”
Additionally, on the East End, we also have to worry about the transmission of Lyme disease, and when it comes to tick prevention, Kelly is a strong believer in that “prevention is better than a cure. Every year is getting worse and it’s incredibly important for people within our communities to be educated and to take the right steps to keep themselves and families safe.”
The disease, which is most commonly caused by the bite of a nymph, immature ticks, – who are less than 2 mm in size, can be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms are similar to that of several other diseases. Bites are often painless and the nymphs, who are incredibly hard to see because of their size, often attach in difficult spots to see.
Kelly has also offered his top tips on how to help decrease the risk of contracting a tick-related illness:
1. Ticks can be found anywhere, so use repellent when going outdoors and check for ticks often
2. Keep pets on your landscaped lawn and never allow them to enter the woods or woods edge
3. Make sure your pet is current with their tick prevention medicine
4. Implement a professional rodent control program around your home to reduce the number of ticks on your property
5. Remind kids of the dangers of going into the woods and uncharted territory, and how to check themselves, too
6. Keep a tick removal kit ready so you are well-prepared if you do come across an embedded tick
7. Keep your grass cut short and don’t over-water your plants and shrubs, as ticks are attracted to long grass and cool damp areas.
8. Ivy and other sorts of ground cover are tick hot spots and should be avoided
9. As part of your yard clean-up, eliminate tick habitats by raking and removing leaves that may have blown into yard edges and under shady vegetation
10. Spray monthly from April through October to control ticks on your property
For those with little ones, Tick Wise, an education-by-entertainment program, is a great resource to teach them about where ticks live, areas that they are commonly found in, and the importance of checking for ticks regularly. In addition to tickwise.org, programs are held throughout the East End.
For more information about East End Tick & Mosquito Control, visit tickcontrol.com.