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Did you know that a mosquito’s life cycle averages about two weeks, but can range from a few days to a month? Eggs hatch when they’re exposed to water. The larva then live in the water, surfacing to breathe air. Pupa form for up to a week, just before the bugs become adults, when their body parts will harden and they’ll begin to fly. Only female adults bite and feed on the blood of humans and animals. Females will feed and then lay eggs directly on water or soil, or at the base of some plants or in places that may fill with water. Their eggs can survive dry conditions for several months. Learn more at https://www.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol/general-information-about-mosquitoes

Preventing mosquito bites
• Use an insect repellent that includes DEET, or another EPA-approved product.
• Wear long, loose, light-colored clothing when possible.
• Remove standing water sources to discourage breeding.
• Limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Discourage mosquitos from breeding
If it’s full of water, something as small as a bottle cap can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Discourage breeding at your home by removing sources of standing water. Walk around the outside of your home at least once a week and empty any water that’s collected in toys, birdbaths, buckets and other objects. Get rid of old tires and other objects that can collect water.

Larvicides can be used to treat wet areas that will not be used for drinking, where mosquitoes may breed. Wood County Health Department distributes mosquito dunks to residents free of charge. They can be used in areas like rain barrels, pool covers, fountains, septic tanks and gutters. For more information, visit the health department’s Environmental Health Division on East Gypsy Lane Road in Bowling Green, or call 419-354-2702.

Disease transmission
Mosquito control is vital because their bites can transmit a wide range of diseases, including dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile virus, and Zika. Zika can be spread locally through sex with a partner who was bitten by an infected mosquito while traveling. Condoms can reduce this risk. The CDC has an advisory page specifically for travelers at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

Pregnant women who have Zika are capable of having babies with microcephaly, a condition that can cause serious developmental problems, such as skull deformity and brain damage. Using a condom every time is critical when having sex with someone who has traveled to an area where Zika is more prevalent. This is important even if your partner has no symptoms. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html for more information.