NEW HAVEN – The week of June 26 – July 2 has been designated the 19th annual “National Mosquito Control Awareness Week” by the American Mosquito Control Association, an organization dedicated to preserving the public’s health and well-being through safe, environmentally-sound mosquito control programs since 1935.
The active AMCA member from Oswego County, Donna Wilcox of The MSGW (Maggie Sue Glenister Wilcox) Foundation, Inc. presented “Maggie’s Story: A Survivor’s Perspective” at the association’s annual Washington DC conference in February.
The president of the association commented in the newsletter that the presentation “was passionately delivered” and that ” no one who heard it will ever forget.”
The goal of “Mosquito Week” is to educate the public about the significance of mosquitoes’ potential impacts on people’s daily lives and the important service provided by mosquito control workers throughout the United States and worldwide.
Wilcox and Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director of the Oswego County Health Department, want to remind Oswego County residents that they can help achieve long-term suppression of mosquitoes and prevent mosquito outbreaks by removing sources of standing water around the home.
“Summer is the time to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends,” said Wilcox. “Summer is also the time for pesky, irritating mosquitoes as well. One mosquito bite may only leave an itchy, red and annoying mark, but it may also cause serious diseases or even death. Since mosquitoes need water to live, removing water sources around your home will go a very long way in preventing mosquitoes from multiplying.”
How do you manage water sources in and around your home?
If you use containers to intentionally collect water, modify the water holder by adding a lid or screen to it so that mosquitoes are prevented from laying eggs in the water.
Dispose of yard debris such as cans, bottles, and buckets in adequately covered containers so that they do not collect and hold water.
Empty birdbaths, kiddie pools, and pet water dishes every few days.
Dispose of used tires and old appliances.
Clean rain gutters to remove debris that may clog them and prevent proper water drainage.
Repair or replace any leaky outdoor faucets.
If there are areas on your property prone to pooling water, and you are unable to properly drain them, place a mosquito larvacide “dunk” in them to kill mosquito larvae and prevent new mosquitoes from hatching.
Aerate water gardens and ponds, or stock them with fish, to keep the water from becoming stagnant.
Educate your community. If you have family members or neighbors who are not adequately managing water on their property, you are still at risk of mosquitoes and becoming infected through the bite of a mosquito.
Ask your family and neighbors to join you in managing water sources around your and your neighbors’ homes.
“In addition to effective water management, it is essential to be proactive in personal protection from mosquito bites,” said Huang.“Individual personal prevention measures are the most effective way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.”
The following precautions should be taken:
Use insect repellent properly. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are the most effective and should be used according to package instructions.
Whenever possible, limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
As weather permits, wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks.
Repair or replace torn window and door screens.
Certain other EPA-approved products containing permethrin can be used on clothing, shoes, bed netting and camping gear to repel and kill mosquitoes and a number of other pests such as ticks. Read the product label and use according to package instructions.
Wilcox and Huang said they want to take this opportunity to thank state and local mosquito control workers for their expertise and hard work.
With the community’s collective efforts in mosquito control and personal prevention measures, we look forward to another successful season for all of us to enjoy the summer and outdoor activities that we love, the added.
For additional information on preventing mosquito-borne illnesses, visit http://www.oswegocounty.com/health/index.html or http://www.mosquito.org/; call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564; or contact Wilcox at The MSGW Foundation, Inc., [email protected]