WASHINGTON - The final week in June, the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) observed National Mosquito Awareness Week, to bring attention to the importance of eliminating the growing threat of mosquitoes spreading West Nile virus across the nation.
In 2012, West Nile virus deaths totaled 286, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Weather conditions favorable to the breeding of mosquitoes contributed to the high death toll, according to health officials.
"When environmental factors increase the threat of mosquitoes, each of us needs to take steps to proactively protect our family and community," said Karen Reardon, vice president of public affairs for RISE. "Inspecting your yard and taking simple measures now will help control mosquito populations throughout the season."
RISE is sharing the following checklist to help homeowners prevent and manage mosquitoes this summer:
- Put up personal barriers. Wear light-colored clothing and cover up with long sleeves and pants, especially during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply mosquito-specific defenses. Be sure to apply insect repellent on exposed skin, such as DEET, to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
- Reduce the population. Eliminate sources of standing water, such as old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles, clogged rain gutters, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpot saucers, and plastic wading pools, which attract mosquitoes and allow them to breed.
- Maintain your lawn. Fill in or drain low places in your yard and keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed to eliminate harborage for mosquitoes and other potentially harmful pests. When necessary, treat your yard with EPA-approved mosquito control products.
- Protect your home. Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater, repair leaky pipes and faucets inside and out, and make sure window and door screens are intact to prevent mosquitoes from coming into the house.