By Pamela Lutrell
For such a tiny little creature, mosquitoes are once again creating huge fears inside the hearts of parents and parents-to-be. Last year, the growth of the West Nile Virus grabbed headlines throughout summer months, and it has not gone away, but this year the ZIKA virus and disturbing pictures of babies with microcephaly have resulted in concerns throughout this state, located so close to South America. Suddenly, two major illnesses are connected to an insect most Texans have learned to tolerate.
“I’m 17 weeks pregnant, so I’m a lot more concerned about mosquitoes this year due to the ZIKA virus. We are having our yard sprayed, but it still worries me for when we are out and about this summer. I imagine we will be dousing ourselves with OFF every time we leave the house,” said San Antonio mom Taylor Henderson. Melissa Goebel, owner of Mosquito Squad, confirmed the increase in calls this year over last. “Our entire system is receiving record numbers of calls, even in areas where the weather isn’t quite warm enough for mosquitoes to breed,” she says.
However, San Antonio is warm enough and with increased precipitation, Bexar County and city officials have assured treatments began early to keep mosquitoes under control. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to send a team to San Antonio just to monitor the mosquito population.
However, the consensus is mosquito control is more residential and successful when property owners take it seriously. Goebel says, “Mosquito Squad specializes in eliminating mosquitoes and ticks from outdoor living spaces, allowing Americans to enjoy their yards, outdoor living spaces, special events and green spaces. We utilize a barrier spray that delivers the exact amount of product needed to treat a yard. With our Platinum Program, we treat yards every two weeks, and we also provide a three week treatment program for yards as well. Our treatment takes down all mosquitoes, including those that carry ZIKA virus and West Nile disease.”
Mosquito Squad is one of several companies, including Mosquito Nix and Queen Bea, ready to assist residents with all types of treatments, including all natural repellents for the yard. Pat Tremaine, a three-year employee of Shades of Green at 334 W. Sunset Road, says, “There are easy, ecological ways to control mosquitoes around your home.
If you have receptacles to catch rain water, then purchase our Mosquito Dunks, which kill the larvae and nothing else.” She also recommends the citronella garden candles by Amazon Lights, Dr. T’s Mosquito Repelling Granules for the yard, cedar flakes around the decking, and cactus juice and citronella sprays as natural repellents. Dr. Renee Cevey, pediatrician, says, “Most repellents are safe for all children down to six months because they contain a DEET concentration of 20 percent or lower.”
She recommends avoiding those with 30 percent or more, such as Deep Woods Off, for use on children. A proper treatment should make it more difficult for the mosquito to smell human blood. Dr. Cevey also recommends not using those products that combine sunscreen and repellent. They are not as effective, since sunscreen needs to be applied more often than a repellent. Goebel says, “Parents should be sure to walk their yards every few days to eliminate water and mosquito breeding grounds” She recommends the following tips for homeowners: