Although World Mosquito Day is just around the corner, don’t expect the pesky insects to take a holiday. They’ll be as active as ever, which means we must continue to be vigilant in avoiding bites.
World Mosquito Day, which is August 20, was established in 1897, when the link between mosquitoes and malaria transmission was discovered by Sir Ronald Ross. The intent was to raise awareness about malaria and how it can be prevented, as well as raise money to help find a cure.
These days, the observance provides the perfect opportunity to remind people about the host of diseases mosquitoes can spread, to include West Nile and Zika. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina, home to at least 61 different species, include: West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.
Although August 20 is the mosquito’s day, so to speak, DHEC urges residents to not feed or house the insects. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and rid your home and yard of areas where they breed. Follow the following guidance:
Reduce the numbers of adult mosquitoes around your home.
- Drain, fill or eliminate sites that have standing water.
- Empty or throw away containers — from bottles and jars to tires and kiddie pools — that have standing water.
Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.
Avoid Mosquitoes: Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours and night. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.
Wear insect repellent: When used as directed, insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites—even children and pregnant women should protect themselves. Choose a repellent that contain one of the following:
- DEET: Products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF!, Skintastic.
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin): Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan outside the United States).
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD: Repel contains OLE.
- IR3535: Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.
- More repellent information
Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
So, apply the repellent, empty or get rid of containers in your yard holding water and have a Happy World Mosquito Day.
Click here to learn more about protecting yourself and your home from mosquitoes.
Visit the DHEC website to learn more about mosquitoes and the diseases they can spread.