SW Michigan Prepares For The Return Of The Deadliest Creature On Earth
It’s a small creature that most people consider a pest, and humanity has been swatting them for centuries. Citronella tiki torches feebly attempt to ward off the invading bloodsuckers and the zapping of the winged vampires can be heard in the distance as bug-zappers are activated.
The mosquito is far more than a simple pest. It is listed as the deadliest creature on Earth, and the World Health Organization reports that mosquitoes kill 1 million people (about the population of Delaware) per year.
YIKES! WHAT’S BEING DONE TO FIGHT THE THREAT?
About 55 species are found in Michigan, and Southwest Michigan is gearing up to take on the threat of vector-borne diseases that some of these insects may harbor.
The Kalamazoo County Health & Health & Community Services Department is setting up and monitoring several traps throughout the county to capture and identify potential disease-carrying mosquitoes in the area.
WHAT VIRUSES ARE THREATENING MICHIGAN?
Two specific viruses are of concern: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and the West Nile virus. Surveillance efforts will also integrate the migration pattern of Zika-carrying mosquitoes through southern Michigan, though, no evidence of the associated mosquito has been associated with Kalamazoo County.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP PROTECT AGAINST MOSQUITO BITES?
- Empty and wash all outdoor containers that collect water (small pools, feeding bowls, open rain collection barrels, buckets, birdbaths, etc.) at least once a week. • Maintain properly treated swimming pools to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.
- Keep trash containers properly covered.
- Use and repair screens on home windows.
- Wear tall socks, pants, and long sleeves outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn. It is believed that dark colors may attract mosquitoes
- Use insect repellent with DEET registered by the EPA on the skin and treat clothing with permethrin to repel biting insects. Always follow label directions.
In the good ol’ days, from around the late 1940s through the early ‘60s, trucks would drive through various Michigan neighborhoods, fogging for mosquitoes. A haze would drift across the family patio, along with the scent of DDT. The use of DDT was banned in 1972 after the EPA decided it wasn’t conducive to a healthy lifestyle for man or beast. It seems that the government, acting to “protect” the general public by using harmful ingredients, isn’t a new thing.