Mosquitoes in hot weather: The menace you must know about

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If you’ve never been bitten by a mosquito — you are surely one of the lucky ones.

That holds true especially amid this summer’s heat wave for many parts of the country.

Mosquito bites are usually just itchy and irritating, but they can lead to something worse. 

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Mosquitoes can spread pathogens, or germs, through their bites, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes on its website. 

Someone who is bitten by a mosquito and becomes sick may have a mosquito-borne disease, such as the West Nile virus, dengue or malaria. (Some mosquitoes bite but don’t spread germs.)

“Recent high temperatures and standing water create an ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed,” said one health professional.
(iStock)

“Longer days and summer weather leads to more people outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and at dusk,” noted Marshall Lipps, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) environmental health specialist, as Fox 31 reported. 

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“Recent high temperatures and standing water create an ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed,” he also said.

The West Nile virus has been detected in mosquito traps in cities across Boulder County, according to Boulder County Public Health, as Fox 31 in Denver also reported. 

Mosquito traps in unincorporated Boulder County, Longmont, Erie and Superior tested positive for the West Nile virus, according to BCPH.

Be sure to drain any standing water outside your home. 

The same health agency shared the tips of the four “Ds” for prevention against mosquito bites this summer.

1. Defend: Use deet-enhanced insect repellent or alternatives to keep mosquitoes away.

2. Dress: Dress in long sleeves and pants (as hot as that may be!).

Most people do not develop illness, or only have mild illness, from West Nile virus — though some rare, severe cases can be fatal. 

Most people do not develop illness, or only have mild illness, from West Nile virus — though some rare, severe cases can be fatal. 
(iStock)

3. Dusk to dawn: Avoid the outdoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

4. Drain: Be sure to drain any standing water outside your home.

Not all mosquitoes bite — and other key facts

More than 3,500 types of mosquitoes are found around the globe, the CDC says.

Not all mosquitoes will bite people or animals. 

Yet when these insects do bite humans, the most common reactions are itching and swelling at the site.

Mosquitoes can bite during the daytime as well as in the evening. 

Mosquitoes can bite during the daytime as well as in the evening. 
(iStock)

The CDC shared the following key facts about the insect on its website.

Adult mosquitoes live both indoors and outdoors.

Mosquitoes can bite both day and night.

Adult mosquitoes live for about 2-4 weeks depending on the species, humidity, temperature and other factors. (Female mosquitoes often live longer than male mosquitoes.)

Mosquitoes become infected with germs, such as viruses and parasites, when they bite infected people and animals.

Only female mosquitoes bite people and animals to get a blood meal. (Female mosquitoes need a blood meal in order to produce eggs.)

Mosquitoes become infected with germs, such as viruses and parasites, when they bite infected people and animals.

A young man is shown spraying mosquito insect repellent in the forest.

A young man is shown spraying mosquito insect repellent in the forest.
(iStock)

Just a few infected mosquitoes can start an outbreak in a community — and put people at risk of becoming sick.

Fixes outside the home

To control the population of mosquitoes outside your home, the CDC recommends an array of steps.

Since mosquitoes lay eggs near collections of water, the CDC recommends that people empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out any items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers or trash containers at least once a week.

Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay their eggs.

Also, tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay their eggs.

For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito, the CDC advises as well.

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Fill tree holes to prevent water from filling them.

If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. 

Also, cover open vents or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.

Fixes inside the home

To keep mosquitoes out of the house, the CDC suggests three key tips.

Install or repair and use window and door screens.

Close doors, including garage doors. Do not leave doors propped open.

Use air conditioning when possible.

An Anopheles stephensi mosquito obtains a blood meal from a human host in this handout photo obtained by Reuters on Nov. 23, 2015.  

An Anopheles stephensi mosquito obtains a blood meal from a human host in this handout photo obtained by Reuters on Nov. 23, 2015.  
(REUTERS/Jim Gathany/CDC/Handout via Reuters)

The fact is that mosquitoes tend to rest in dark, humid places such as under sinks, in showers, in closets, under furniture or even in the laundry room, the CDC points out.

Taking care of your home and family includes emptying, scrubbing and throwing out any items that may hold water (such as vases and flower pots), as these may contain mosquito eggs and larvae; and using an indoor insecticide if you still have mosquitoes in your home (always follow the label directions).  

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You can also hire a pest control professional to treat areas of the home. 

Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) can also be used to keep mosquitoes away.

The CDC offers many more pieces of advice about mosquito control and bite prevention on its website.

Maureen Mackey is managing editor of lifestyle for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent on Twitter at @maurmack.

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