A few weeks ago, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, The Tulsa Health Department told us they had found a sampling of mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile Virus. Then earlier last week they published that the first two cases of human contracted West Nile Virus in Oklahoma were confirmed in Okfuskee and McIntosh counties. All you have to do right now is step outside for a few minutes and you’re almost guaranteed to see mosquitoes about. This has become a huge concern for many people across Oklahoma.
Typically, the months of July through October are the highest risk months for exposure to West Nile in Oklahoma. Thankfully the Tulsa Health Department says, during a typical mosquito season, they spray hundreds of square miles for adult mosquitoes to help control the population. With all of the recent flooding across the state leaving standing water everywhere, the mosquitoes are already out in droves and becoming a cause for concern. However, we do have some slightly good news for you in all of this: Floodwater mosquito populations do no increase the risk of West Nile Virus. The type of mosquitoes that hatch after severe flooding are primarily a species classified as “nuisance mosquitoes.” They bit aggressively and cause lots of itching, but they are not typically involved with the transmission of diseases. West Nile Virus is generally spread through the bite of the Culex mosquito, which feed on infected birds and transmits the virus when biting humans, horses, and other mammals. This species of mosquito usually increases in numbers during mid to late summer when the temperatures climb and the weather pattern is drier.
Either way, the Tulsa Health Department is also encouraging the community to take precautions against mosquitoes to reduce the risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness. Here are a few of things you can do:
- Use insect repellent on exposed skin an on clothing when you go outdoors, particularly if you are outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite.
- Prevent outdoor items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pot, bird baths, and tires from holding standing water so that mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
- Empty your pet’s outdoor water bowl and refill daily.
- Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged and holding water.
- Outdoor areas with good air flow will help keep mosquitoes at bay as they have difficulty flying in the wind. So if you can, install an outside fan on your patio to keep the air circulating.
- The best thing you can do is call Arrow Exterminators to treat your yard. The products we use will eliminate any mosquitoes on contact and provide continuous protection from these disease-carrying pests.