We’ve been talking a lot about the Zika virus this spring and summer since mosquito control is a common concern in Alabama. If you’ve been keeping track of the latest reports you may have heard that officials are investigating non-travel related Zika infections in Florida. The first Zika-related death was also reported in Utah shortly before news of the Florida infections broke.
All of the Zika virus activity has prompted experts from our own Auburn University to comment on the situation and why fogger trucks may not be the best solution.
Why Fogger Trucks Won’t Work in Alabama
During a week when six Alabama residents tested positive for the Zika virus, Auburn experts discussed the issue with the Daily Decatur. They focused most of the conversation on why fogger trucks may not be all that effective at controlling the spread of Zika.
The problem is a matter of timing. Fogger trucks go out in the late afternoon or early evening when people are less active and some types of mosquitoes start buzzing around. Unfortunately, the Asian tiger mosquito, which is the carrier of Zika in Alabama, isn’t active during that time. According to Auburn University assistant professor Derrick Mathias, Asian tiger mosquitoes are only active during the daytime.
Officials say the fogger truck schedules can’t be changed because spraying during the day could kill off too many beneficial insects. The Alabama Department of Public Health warns that homeowners have to address the problem at their property to help the state limit Zika infections.
Important Zika Stats Alabama Residents Need to Know
- As of 7/20/2016 the CDC reported there were 1,404 known cases of Zika in the U.S. In total, eight Alabama residents have contracted the Zika virus.
- The primary vector for Zika is the aedes aegypti mosquito. Fortunately, Alabama hasn’t had this species in more than 25 years because the Asian tiger mosquito bred them out.
- It has now been proven that the Zika virus can be transmitted sexually. Experts are testing to determine whether it can be spread via saliva as well.
- The majority of people will have no symptoms of Zika after contracting the virus.
- Zika can cause serious birth defects such as microcephaly if a pregnant woman is infected. Experts advise that pregnant women limit their time outdoors during mosquito season and always use bug spray when they do plan to go outside.
How Each Person Can Combat the Zika Virus
As the Alabama Department of Public Health officials noted, Zika protection requires personal measures. Here are six tips for protecting yourself and your family during mosquito season.
- Get a mosquito control treatment that kills adult insects, larvae and eggs. Controlling mosquitoes means breaking the reproduction cycle and treating at all levels because they mature so quickly.
- Eliminate any standing water in your yard. Mosquitoes need less than an inch of water to lay their eggs. Even small pools of water have to be dried up because the Asian tiger mosquito prefers to lay their eggs in isolated environments like buckets or tree holes.
- Wear bug spray any time you go outdoors and reapply as recommended.
- Keep your skin covered with loose clothing in a breathable material like cotton or linen.
- Avoid going outdoors during the day when Asian tiger mosquitoes are most active.
- If you feel any of the Zika virus symptoms limit your contact with others and visit a physician immediately to get tested.
Vulcan Termite and Pest Control, Inc. has provided exemplary pest control treatments in Central Alabama for over 50 years. We are equipped to help homeowners control mosquito populations and protect their family from mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika and West Nile Virus. Call us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help you stay safe this summer.