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The Bug Battle Isn't Over Yet

Editor’s note: Although most of us think of ticks and mosquitoes as primarily summer pests, sadly, they’re not. According to the University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Center, some species of ticks, such as deer ticks, remain active as long as the temperature is above freezing. Still other kinds of ticks, such as the American dog tick and the Lone Star tick, just aren’t active in the cold weather, the Encounter Center experts say.

Unfortunately, the same is pretty much true for mosquitoes as well. Experts say that mosquitoes don’t go away for good until there’s a first freeze that is followed by consistent temperatures of 50 degrees or lower. In some of the hotter climates in the U.S., there may be some degree of mosquito activity year round.

In other words, the bug battle isn’t over yet.

Here, from the experts at InsectShield clothing, http://www.insectshield.com/basics/, are some tips to protect yourself, your family and your pets.

TICKS

Do Daily Tick Checks

The best time to do a full body tick check is right after ending outdoor activity or as you get ready to shower, bathe or go to bed. If you remove ticks quickly, it will prevent the transmission of most tick-borne illnesses. It takes more than twenty-four to thirty-six hours of attachment for nymphal deer ticks to transmit Lyme disease bacteria, and even longer to transmit another infection, Babesia.

Remove Ticks Safely

To safely remove attached ticks, first disinfect the area with an alcohol swab. Next, using a pointy tweezer, grab the tick “head” as close to the skin as possible and simply pull straight out. Remember to disinfect the bite site again after pulling the tick out.

Identify and Avoid Tick Habitats

Shady, wooded and weedy edges are favorite spots for ticks to hang out. Avoiding tick habitats can be difficult but there are plenty of ways – such as always walking in the middle of maintained trails – to limit tick encounters.

MOSQUITOES

Eliminate standing water, which acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Remember to keep the lids on trash cans to keep out the rain.

Cover up or fill in low places in your yard where puddles can develop.

Keep gutters cleaned out so water does not build up inside and become a mosquito breeding ground.

Make sure all drains on your property are also cleaned out without leaves blocking them up so water can drain effectively.

Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.

Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week or store in a position that water will drain.

Make sure your backyard pool is maintained properly.

Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete.

Change water in bird baths and planter pots or drip trays at least once a week.

Keep grass cut short around the house, so adult mosquitoes can’t hide there.

Consider insect-repellent apparel.

Use topical insect repellents when outdoors.

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