As temperatures in the Fresno area heat up, agencies are ramping up their information offensives so residents can gird themselves against mosquitoes that can carry the deadly West Nile or Zika viruses.

Fourteen cases of people contracting the West Nile virus were reported by Fresno County officials in 2018. Symptoms include body aches, shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue.

There also were 119 cases of mosquito traps set by the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District that showed a presence of West Nile.

As for the Zika virus, infections thus far have been documented only in people who were infected while traveling outside the United States or through sexual contact with an infected traveler. But the Vector Control District urges residents to stay vigilant.

So you should ask yourself: Am I cooking up a breeding ground for mosquitoes? It only takes about a week for a mosquito to grow from an egg into an adult.

(Click on the video above to learn how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard.) 

How to Fight the Bite

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several safety tips.

Standing water and dark clothing are two things that attract mosquitoes. The American Mosquito Control Association recommends that people follow the “3 D’s” to keep mosquitoes away:

• Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week.
• Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Defend: Use repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such as DEET, picaridin, IR 3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil.

If you want to avoid repellents with synthetic chemicals, lemon eucalyptus oil is your best bet. Other natural repellents include oils sourced from geranium, citronella, patchouli, thyme and clove.

In addition, the Vector Control District offers these tips:

• Clean: Swamp coolers and water drains.
• Change: Water in pet bowls and dispensers often.

Joseph Conlon, AMCA technical advisor, says, “Encouraging your neighbors to also eliminate sources on their own property is critical to a community-wide control program. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. If their water source is eliminated, so are their offspring.”

Have Your Yard Inspected

If you have questions or want to schedule an inspection to make your home safe from mosquitoes, contact the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District office: 559- 268-6565, office@fresnomosquito.org.

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