Right now, many of us are feeling as if summer is one big bug fest. Since more people are going outside during summer, most types of bugs are also active during summer. If you’ve spent any time at all outdoors, you know what we’re talking about. You’ll have to take precautionary measures to deal with bugs.
From grilling, to hiking, to even walking the dog, summer bugs are everywhere. Yes, they’re pesky, but what matters most is that they put us at risk for bug-borne diseases, which in turn, would cause more harm instead of being outside to have fun and enjoy with your family.
Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are the biggest culprits. Known as “vectors,” these insects spread the pathogens that cause West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease and other “vector-borne” diseases.
“Disease cases from mosquito, tick and flea bites more than tripled in the U.S. between 2004 and 2016,” according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
So, how can we deal with bugs and avoid these pests while enjoying summertime in the great outdoors? Here are some tips that would help, not just you, but also your family a lot.
When hiking, it’s easy to be distracted by a view or wildlife, and it is common to want to blaze your own trail to get a better look. It’s not wise, however. Experts recommend that you remain in the middle of the trails when hiking or jogging. Ticks are especially notorious for hiding in tall grass and other vegetation.
Don’t use perfume, cologne, lotions, and soaps with fragrance before heading out to enjoy the outdoors. Mosquitoes tend to be more attracted to those. In addition, wear the appropriate, protective clothing. This includes:
- Long-Sleeve Shirts
- Long Pants
- Socks (that can be tucked under the pants to protect the skin from ticks)
You should also consider spraying your outdoor wear with a permethrin-based insect repellent to help deal with bugs. However, the CDC does not recommend that you use repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
Before entering your home after a day outdoors, check all family members and pets for ticks. If you find one, remove it right away. Learn how to safely remove a tick and aftercare instructions at CDC.gov.
In Your Own Backyard
Deer are the favorite hosts of the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), carrier of the dreaded Lyme disease.
“More than 14,000 cases [of Lyme disease] are reported annually,” according to the experts at National Geographic. “Adult deer ticks,” they continue, “are about the size of a sesame seed.”
If deer are common visitors to your neighborhood, discourage them from coming into your yard. You can do this by removing vegetation that is attractive to deer. Some of the plants that are popular among deer include:
- Honey Locust
- Plum, Apple, Pear, Persimmon and Crab-Apple Trees
- White and Red Oak
- Hickory and Pecan Trees
- Eastern Red Cedar
- Raspberries or Blackberries
Deer avoid plant fragrant plants such as lavender, sage and salvia. “Daffodils, foxgloves, and poppies are common flowers that have a toxicity that deer avoid,” according to Catherine Boeckmann at Almanac.com.
Ticks may also take up residence in the lawn, so keep it debris-free by raking up dead leaves and mowing the lawn to keep it as short as possible.
If you’re still finding ticks and mosquitoes in your yard after taking the previous steps, consider spraying it with a tick and mosquito control product.
Following these tips to deal with bugs can help keep mosquitoes, ticks and other insects away for a bug-free summer.