Home Map and Hours Classes and Events Employment

Welcome to Tagawa's Blog

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

After the Flood: Fighting the Mosquitos

     West Nile Virus was a growing problem in Colorado long before the devastating floods of this past week.  Now, as the water begins to recede and warm temperatures return, mosquitos are likely to be hatching out in possibly dangerous numbers.  This is the time to take the threat of West Nile very seriously. 

Be on the alert for standing water!

     Female mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water, but they don't need much water to feel welcome. 

     I'd urge you to take a walk around your property and look for any low spots or containers that you wouldn't normally think of as a mosquito-breeding ground.  Old tires, buckets, trash can lids, bird baths, garden ponds and gutters on your roof can easily hold enough water to incubate the mosquito eggs into adults.  The sooner you take that walk, the better.  Mosquitos can mature from egg to adult in just four to seven days. 

More than a nuiscance

    Adult female mosquitos are the only insects that can transmit West Nile virus to humans.  On the positive side, most people who get West Nile will never show any symptoms.  But for the two or three people in ten who do get sick, some of them get very sick.  Before last week's flooding, the State Health Department was reporting nearly 100 diagnosed cases of West Nile in Colorado.  Two of the people died, one in Arapahoe County and one in Weld County.

     Symptoms of West Nile include headache, high fever and neck stiffness.  If the disease progresses, it can lead to tremors, seizures, paralysis and coma.  These symptoms can begin within just three to fourteen days after an infected mosquito bites. 

Fighting back

     There are lots of ways to protect your family and yourself.  The most obvious tactic is to wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs.  And don't count on the old adage that mosquitos feed primarily in the cool of early morning and evening.  I've taken out a couple that decided high noon on an 85 degree day was the perfect time for lunch. 
    Tagawa's has several ways to help you fight back against the 'skeeters.   We carry insect repellents with and without Deet.  Your choice.

     One of my favorite ways of defeating the mosquitos in my neighbor's pond is with an earth-friendly "larvacide" with a special bacteria that affects only the mosquitos.  There's no harm to birds, bats or other creatures that eat the treated mosquitos.

     This biological insecticide is sold as "Mosquito Dunks" or "Mosquito Beater."   The good folks in Dick's Corner at Tagawa's will be happy to help you choose the product that is right for your situation. 

A long fight?

     Studies have shown that some mosquitos can actually survive the winter.  Fortunately, most of them don't.  Our first hard freeze should kill most of them.  But this being Colorado and all, there's really no telling when that first freeze will come. 

     In the meantime, be on the alert for the familiar buzzing that the female mosquitos make. That sound is meant to attract the male mosquitos.  But we can use it as an alarm... a kind of call-to-arms that it's time take precautions against this nasty pest. 

No comments: