Reducing risk of mosquitoes – WATE

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s one of the most dreaded parts about summer: peak season for mosquitoes. 

“Anything that’s holding water has the potential for mosquitoes to breed,” Knox County Health Department Environmental Health Director Ronnie Nease said. 

Recent rainfall, combined with high heat and humidity, makes the perfect breeding ground for these insects. Nease said the bugs can lay hundreds of eggs in a container of water as small as a bottle cap and only take a week to hatch.

“If whatever is holding the water is drained between five and seven days, the mosquitoes won’t be able to hatch out,” he said.

There are things you can do around your home to keep mosquitoes to a minimum.

“The main thing you can do is keep the water poured out, use repellent and wear proper clothing,” Nease said. “Also to keep your grass and your shrubs around your home and property trimmed back. When a mosquito hatches, it goes to those shady, cool areas.”

He said you can start by eliminating water and moisture in places you may not normally think of, places like grass, trees and decks.

“Mowing your lawn will help, keeping the shrubs trimmed, cleaning out your gutters, to make sure there isn’t any standing water there, because if the gutters are stocked, that gives mosquitoes an ideal place to breed,” he said.

These at-home remedies will not only cut down on those irritating bites, but also help prevent cases of dangerous and regional mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile and La Crosse encephalitis.

So far this season in East Tennessee, there have not been any reported cases of either virus, but that does not mean it cannot happen.

Last year, a person was confirmed to have contracted West Nile, the first human case in Knox County since 2013. Also in 2017, the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed 11 cases of La Crosse, a virus that affects children. 

In addition to dumping out standing water and wearing insect repellent, the health department also encourages you to wear loose, light-colored clothing outside and consider keeping window screens on your home or business.


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