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Zika Facts and Prevention

Every news broadcast seems to have an update on the Zika virus lately. Zika is actually not a new virus on the international front, but the closer it gets to the United States, the more we will continue to hear about it as if it were a new virus.

The Zika virus is transmitted through our personal nemesis…the mosquito. More specifically, the Aedes mosquito. This little devil is also responsible for spreading the Chikungunya and the dengue viruses.

The Zika virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her unborn child. The Zika virus has been known to cause serious birth defects in babies and pregnant woman are in the highest risk group when it comes to this virus.

There’s no cause to panic when thinking about mosquito-transmitted diseases, but you should always be prepared and take necessary precautions to prevent an outbreak if possible.

Below are a few reminders of simple ways you can keep mosquitoes out of your yard.

TIP over anything that holds or collects water. A bottle cap filled with water holds enough water for mosquitoes to breed. Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, the elimination of standing water decreases a mosquito’s breeding ground. Mosquito Squad technicians report that yards with bird baths, play sets with tire swings, tree houses, portable fireplaces and pits and catch basins are the biggest offenders.

TOSS any yard trash including clippings, leaves and twigs. Even the smallest items can provide a haven for mosquitoes and increase the population.

TURN over items that could hold water and trash. Look for children’s portable sandboxes, slides or plastic toys; underneath and around downspouts; in plant saucers, empty pots, light fixtures and dog water bowls. Eliminate these items or keep them turned over until used.

REMOVE TARPS that can catch water. Many homeowners have tarps or covers on items residing in their outdoor spaces. If not stretched taut, they are holding water. Check tarps over firewood piles, portable fire places, recycling cans, boats, sports equipment and grills. Mosquito Squad suggests using bungee cords to secure tarps in the yard.

TAKE CARE of your home. Proper maintenance can be a deciding factor in property values and mosquito bites. Regularly clean out gutters and make sure the downspout is attached properly. Mosquito Squad recommends re-grading areas where water stands more than a few hours, and to regularly check irrigation systems to ensure that they aren’t leaking and causing a breeding haven. Keep lawn height low and areas weed-free.

TEAM UP. Despite taking all precautions in your own home, talking with neighbors is a key component to mosquito and tick control. Townhomes and homes with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor’s home, and affect your property.

TREAT. Utilize a professional mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body.

Educate yourself about Zika and take the precautionary steps to keep any and all harmful mosquito transmitted diseases out of your yard.

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