Your city is calling you! After the horrible year we had with mosquitoes (and other pests) as well as the record number of cases of West Nile Virus last year, everyone is being asked to do their part to keep mosquito populations down and to stop the spread of West Nile Virus symptoms.
Birds infected with West Nile Virus are popping up in many states, and the areas most at risk, those that are more rural, often don’t have the staff and supplies to track and contain the virus (at least not at current levels). In any case, if everyone helps by using easy, natural methods it means less chemicals sprayed in your community! So take part!
We’re coming up on August, which is when West Nile Virus tends to start getting a lot of attention—people infected at the beginning of summer will start showing symptoms, and by now it’s had time to spread between birds, mosquitoes, and humans, so over the next 30 days the risk for catching it is greatest.
But no need to panic! There’s lots you can do to avoid West Nile Virus, as well as lower the risk for you community:
The single biggest thing you can do is check your property for still water, which mosquitoes love for breeding. Decorations like fountains, bird feeders (mosquitoes are tiny so of course their breeding ground can be, too!) as well as natural forming pools (check any object, like a tire, toys, trees etc.)
It doesn’t matter if the water is fresh, salt, chlorinated, or stinking. If you find still water, either get rid of it or replace it at least every 4 days. And report public places of still water to your city.
Discourage them from using you as food—most species need a warm blood meal to lay their eggs. You can light citronella candles (or the strong scent of your choice). Try to avoid going out when mosquitoes are active, but if you have to, wear long, tight fitting (or tight cuffed) shirts and pants.
And don’t forget your pets! West Nile Virus symptoms are harder to diagnose in pets, so be extra careful about managing their outdoor time. Consider pest repellent (a little bug spray on a hankie in their collar is an idea, but I’ve never tried it) if they have to go out where/when there are mosquitoes. And don’t forget their water bowl can also be a great breeding ground—refill it with fresh water regularly and dump it when you’re done.
When communities work together, we can avoid having to spray harsh chemicals and protect each other from West Nile Virus symptoms!
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