Hurricane Hermine Catalyzes the Spread of Zika
September 8, 2016
If you think that the threat has ended now that the hurricane has passed, then you are sorely mistaken. Hurricane Hermine brought more than just terror and destruction, the flooding caused by the storm has left behind countless pools of standing water that have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes which are furthering the spread of Zika throughout the entire state of Florida, and towards the rest of the United States.
Hurricane Hermine caused heavy rainfall all along the gulf coast of Florida before eventually hitting land late Friday night in the northwest region of Florida, traveling even as far as Tallahassee and leaving massive amounts of flooding and damage in its path.
Florida is the first state in the continental United States where mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus have been found, and there are 47 registered cases of Zika virus infection in humans in Florida so far. Some of these 47 cases were registered in cities on the gulf coast of Florida, such as in St. Petersburg and in Tampa. Now that Hurricane Hermine has caused extensive flooding in these same areas of the gulf coast, it is important that we all do our part to stop the spread of the Zika virus.
Standing water is a problem because mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, and once they have laid their eggs it is only a matter of days before those eggs have grown into fully formed adult mosquitoes. As the population of mosquitoes increases, so does the threat of Zika. It is safe to say that getting rid of the mosquitoes’ extensive breeding grounds should be one of our top priorities in our fight to stop the spread of Zika. So how can you help to eliminate standing water and the dangerous potentials it has?
Begin by knowing where water often pools in your backyard and any other nearby areas. The female Aedes species mosquito that carries the Zika virus can lay its eggs in pools of standing water, even in the small pools that have collected in items like bottle caps. Some common places in your own backyard where you may find standing water are buckets, planters, toys, tires, pool covers, flower pots, gutters, pet dishes, fountains, bird baths, etc. Identify these types of places near your house and then make sure to dump any water that has gathered at least once a week. It is important that this becomes a weekly habit because it does not take very long for the larvae to mature into adult mosquitoes. If the pools of standing water are too big or hard to get to then you can use an EPA-registered larvicide as a suitable alternative to dumping the water.
Larvicide is a chemical that you can find at your local hardware store that functions to kill mosquitoes during their immature larvae stage. Most EPA-registered larvicides are safe to use around your family and pets, but be sure to call a Nozzle Nolen representative if you have questions about a certain product and it’s safety. Using larvicide is a preferable means of mosquito population control because adult mosquitoes are much more difficult to kill and the aerosols used to do it can be hazardous to your health. We here at Nozzle Nolen ensure the safety and effectiveness of EPA-registered larvicides and we encourage our loyal customers to use them as a means to help prevent the spread of Zika.
The best way to keep yourself safe from Zika is to prevent mosquito bites; some helpful tips to prevent bites are to use insect repellent, such as Moskito Care with Picaridin, to cover your skin with long-sleeved shirts or jeans, to stay in places with air-conditioning and screens, and to remove any standing water in your nearby surroundings. If you want to know more about the Zika virus and how to protect yourself, check out my article, “DEET vs. Picaridin.”
If you have any more questions about larvicide or its safety, check in later for my piece on larvicide that will be all about which larvicide products are safe and why. If you have any questions about Hurricane Hermine and the spread of Zika or if you are interested in our pest control services, please leave a comment below or call one of our Nozzle Nolen representatives at (888) 685-0376.
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