With the Atlantic hurricane season having begun on June 1 (and running through November 30), RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) and the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) are promoting awareness about the importance of preventing, removing, and treating standing water to combat the spread of disease through mosquitoes. In the aftermath of a hurricane, impacted areas can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes often due to the combination of deep floodwaters, downed trees and overgrown grass. On job sites, lawn care and landscape contractors can pay attention to standing water before and after a hurricane can help prevent conditions that lead to mosquitoes multiplying and spreading disease for their customers.
“We encourage every person and community in a hurricane zone to properly prepare to combat the growth of mosquitoes,” shares Megan Provost, President of RISE. “Disease spreads in multiple ways, and it’s critical to prevent the spread of those that are vector-borne, such as West Nile Virus. All members of a community benefit when individuals take the right precautions, including emptying standing water and using mosquito-repellents approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The specialty pesticide and fertilizer industry remains committed to supporting communities as we all work to prevent the spread of disease and protect public health.”
“In the aftermath of severe and prolonged rains from hurricanes, the receding waters leave pools of standing water in new areas where they didn’t previously exist. Combined with the summer heat speeding reproduction, the result can be a drastic increase in mosquito populations,” says Joe Conlon, AMCA Technical Advisor. Contractors can contribute to prevention on their customers’ properties by taking steps prior to a storm, when possible, to reduce areas where standing water might accumulate.
Steps to prevent or lessen the chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease before and after a storm include the following. These are ways to help protect your customers, if in your scope of service. Attention to these methods also helps protect your crew from mosquito-related hazards. To date, there is no evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus can spread through mosquito-transmission, as shared by the World Health Organization.
- Drain all standing water and prevent water accumulation when possible. Check all areas that might hold water, such as tire swings, buckets, bottles, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpot saucers, pool toys, and even bottle caps. Cover trash containers and store boats covered or upside down, or remove rainwater weekly from boats.
- Fill in or drain low places on the property (e.g., puddles, ruts, hollow stumps). Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed to eliminate harborage for mosquitoes and other potentially harmful pests.
- Keep roof gutters free of leaves and other debris.
- Avoid activities during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants.
- Defend yourself against mosquitoes with an EPA-approved repellent. Read more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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