Mobile’s many rain storms make us an inviting place to live for a lot of mosquitos.
” I think we have at least 52 species in Mobile,” said Vector Control Entomologist John Marshall.
When it comes to Zika, there are two types of Aedes mosquitos that carry the virus; Aedes Egypti and Aedes Albopictus.
Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor University, said that Mobile mainly houses the albopictus.
“Mobile, Alabama may be in a better position than some other gulf coast cities. If you look back in the biomedical literature, that aides egypti mosquito in Mobile was replaced with another species of aedes mosquito that is not quite as efficient at feeding on humans,” Hotez said about the albopictus.
Unlike other mosquitos that come out as the sun goes down, the Albopictus will bite you in the middle of the day.
The Alabama Health Department advises three things to keep in mind when it comes to protecting yourself; drain, dress, and defend.
Drain out anything in your yard that might be collecting water. The albopictus only needs about a thimble full of water to thrive.
“They’re container mosquitos so they’re the type that are going to show up in bird baths and pet water dishes that have been sitting out too long,” Marshall said.
Try to wear light-colored long sleeve clothing to protect yourself from getting bitten.
The CDC is advising people to use bug spray with DEET in it. According to Consumer Report, the top rated sprays include Sawyer Picaridin and Natrapel 8 Hour, which each contain 20 percent picaridin, and Off! Deepwoods VIII, which contains 25 percent deet.
But, a lot of people are turning to private companies to spray their yards too.
“We’ve seen a 20% increase in customers,” Mosquito Authority owner Mike Allen said. “Especially young ladies who are pregnant.”
Part of the reason companies like Mosquito Authority are effective is because mosquitos don’t fly as far as you might think.
“Mosquitos are poor flyers. They only fly about a hundred yards at a time. They have to stop and rest so because of that, we take advantage. When we apply our barrier spray, our repel-plus system to customers’ yards, there isn’t anywhere for the mosquito to land in that yard, so when they get close and sense what we spray, they turn around and leave,” Allen explained. He said this summer they’re offering expectant mothers a free yard treatment to set their minds at ease.