With summer in full swing, so are mosquitoes.
The pesky insects thrive on hot weather, with their volume increasing as the temperature rises. Sadly, AccuWeather’s mosquito forecast for Angelina County over the next couple of weeks classifies their threat as ‘‘extreme.’’
There’s nothing like a swarm of mosquitoes to ruin outdoor summer fun. But they are more than just a threat to our quality of life. Their need to survive includes the potential to spread diseases that can become life-threatening to both humans and animals, such as Dengue Fever, chikungunya, Yellow Fever, West Nile virus, Zika and several types of encephalitis. The elderly, infants and “anyone with a compromised immune system” are most likely to be affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s no vaccine for some of those diseases; the only sure preventative measure is to not get bit by mosquitoes.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends residents take precautions against the serious dangers mosquitoes pose.
Entomologists refer to “the four D’s” as a general means for people to help manage mosquitoes and protect against bites. These are:
■ Dusk/Dawn — Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are searching for a blood meal, which is usually in the early morning hours and just before the sun goes down. While some species are daytime biters, most prefer to feed at dusk and dawn.
■ Drain — Empty standing water from “containers” around your home and work areas, such as buckets, wheelbarrows, kiddie pools, toys, dog bowls, water troughs, tires, bottles, etc. Make improvements that allow standing water to run off following rains. Mosquitoes can lay eggs in the smallest of places, such as a bottle cap, and those eggs can live up to a year without the necessary moisture to hatch.
■ Dress — If out during mosquito feeding hours, wear long sleeves and pants in plain colors. Avoid attracting them by wearing excessive amounts of perfume or aftershave.
■ Defend — Any time you go outside for an extended period of time, wear an insect repellent. Entomologists say repellents with DEET remain the gold standard for protection.
The city of Lufkin has a mosquito fogger and licensed driver who visits various neighborhoods, parks and the softball and baseball fields to spray. The service is free for Lufkin residents; to use it, call Lufkin Parks & Recreation at 633-0250 and give the name of their street. The truck will spray the entire neighborhood to ensure the whole area is secure.
The city of Hudson also has a fogger, but doesn’t have a certified driver. However, they do offer granules to Hudson residents that they can put in any open water sources to keep more mosquitoes from hatching
For more information about mosquitoes, visit AgriLife Extension’s Mosquito Safari website, mosquitosafari.tamu.edu.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to mosquitoes — until you get a red, itchy welt on your skin. Unfortunately for some, that may be too late.