How to Prepare for Hurricane Season: Keeping Mosquitos at Bay
As summer ends and fall approaches, many people are eagerly anticipating the arrival of autumn. There’s nothing more exciting than leaf-peeping, drinking hot cider, and bundling in sweaters. As exciting as these events are, fall can also be a scary season for many Americans across the country, especially those who live in regions prone to hurricanes and tropical storms. AccuWeather states that southern states, such as Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas are the most vulnerable to storms.
According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane season officially begins on the first day of June and lasts until November 30; and most storms occur throughout mid-August into late-October.
What does this mean for your health?
The time to be most cautious about protection from mosquitos is after the storm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that mosquitos migrate towards flood zones, as they thrive in damp and humid climates. Female mosquitoes will lay their eggs in the soil surrounding flooded areas; and generally, they can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. This dramatically increases the number of mosquitoes found in any given area, greatly increasing your chances of getting bitten.
The CDC states that most floodwater mosquitos are considered nuisance mosquitoes, but because they have a two-week lifespan, there is a chance of mosquitos biting a person or animal carrying a severe virus. According to the State of Connecticut Mosquito Management, the virus will develop and then multiply inside the mosquito before it transmits it through its saliva to another host.
Common viruses spread by mosquitos include the following: Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, Dengue fever, malaria, but Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is the deadly mosquito-borne illness most recently affecting the U.S. As of September 2019, there have been nine reported deaths related to EEE virus across nearly a dozen states including Michigan, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
We advise that you take the precautionary steps needed to avoid being bitten by mosquitos carrying EEE virus. Review our EEE News Alert to learn more about how you can protect yourself from this dangerous virus.
Residents living in South Florida should also take precautions, as the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti (Ae), thrives in Florida’s tropical climate. Ae are especially present during hurricane season, because increased rainfall typically results in increased hatchings. The CDC warns Floridians living in areas with a high percentage of Ae mosquitoes to take precaution if the spread of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya emerges.
It's important to be proactive instead of reactive. Take precautions every day to protect yourself and your loved ones against mosquito-borne diseases, including wearing a safe and effective insect repellent.
Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes this Hurricane Season
Post-hurricane conditions are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes thrive in damp areas, it’s important to remove any standing water found on the property. Standing water is a popular place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs, and it only takes a tablespoon of water for mosquitos to breed, so being diligent with removal is important. It’s as easy as emptying out any outdoor items that may contain water- like plant plates and kids’ water tables - and thoroughly scrubbing them to ensure that they’re egg free. The further away you dump out standing water from your property, the better.
Any of the additional following areas should be emptied of standing water and washed, as well: pools, birdbaths, bird feeders, flower pots, trash and recycling bins, tires, buckets, and other children's toys.
In addition to removing standing water and emptying containers filled with rain water, you should also clean your clogged gutters and drains as soon as it is safe to do so.
In the midst of cleanup efforts, it is also important to keep your home secure in order to avoid mosquitos from entering your home: install window screens or keep windows and doors closed if you don’t have them. Please be sure to repair any holes in your screens and repair any cracks in your windows and doors. If you use central air conditioning, be sure to drain the vent on a regular basis and remove any puddles that may have formed under window units.
Picaridin vs. DEET
It’s just as important to protect your skin from insects as it is to protect your property. Carrying a safe mosquito repellent spray during hurricane season is essential to prevent mosquito-borne diseases. You and your family should be wearing the most effective form of insect repellent on the market. This is why Ranger Ready whole heartedly stands by our no-DEET, picaridin-based insect repellent.
Ranger Ready tick and insect repellents carry a concentration of Picaridin 20% which is the safest and most effective alternative to DEET. Ranger Ready with picaridin provides 12 hours of mosquito and tick protection, while DEET-based products only offer 8-10 hours of protection. Picaridin is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and it’s also free of neurotoxins and plasticizers, unlike DEET. The best part of picaridin? It doesn’t make your skin feel sticky and it also won’t ruin your clothing and gear.
This hurricane season can cause an influx of mosquitos, so be cautious and be fully protected with an insect repellant you can trust. By properly preparing your home and yard, you can take an active part in keeping your area protected from an exploding population of mosquitos and the dangerous diseases they can carry.