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Bites from Insects

Mosquito Information

Mosquitoes can cause illness. La Crosse encephalitis is spread by infected mosquitoes and usually affects children. There are about 50 cases of La Crosse encephalitis each year in West Virginia. West Nile virus is also spread by infected mosquitoes and usually affects the elderly. And, most recently in the news, the Zika virus can cause pregnancy complications and a number of other issues.

What can I do about mosquitoes?

  1. Empty standing water in old tires, cemetery urns, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes may breed.
  2. Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week if not more often.
  3. Drain or fill temporary pools with dirt.
  4. Keep swimming pools treated and circulating.
  5. Keep rain gutters clean and in good repair.
  6. Use mosquito repellents containing DEET. Apply sparingly to children before they play outdoors, and rinse children off with soap and water when they come back in.  Do not apply repellent to the face and hands of young children because they may rub it in their eyes. Follow label directions and precautions closely.
  7. Use head nets, long sleeves, and long pants if you venture into areas with high mosquito populations.
    Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.”

Mosquito Control Myths

  • FALSE: Ultraviolet lights used in bug zappers and ultrasonic devices are effective.
  • FALSE: Bats and Purple Martin birds eat enough mosquitoes to be useful.
  • FALSE: Citronella candles and citronella repellents, and garlic keep mosquitoes away.
  • TRUE: Integrated pest management (IPM) is today’s standard for controlling mosquitoes. IPM involves surveillance, getting rid of mosquitoes, larvicide and biological controls, as well as public relations and education.

Helpful Resources

West Nile Virus Information


Tick Information

Can You Get Sick from a Tick?

Most of the time, no. But ticks can also carry diseases … like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Lyme disease starts off with a ‘bull’s-eye rash.” You might also have fever and aches. If you get a bull’s-eye rash, you should tell a responsible person so they can take you to a doctor.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever and some other diseases carried by ticks start off with fever and headache. You might also get a rash.  If you don’t feel well, you should tell a responsible person so they can take you to a doctor

How Do I Keep Safe from Ticks?

It is no fun being sick from a tick, so it is better to keep them from biting. Here’s what to do at summer camp:

  • Ticks like to live in woods with piles of leaves and shade. They also like weeds and tall grass.  If you go into these areas with woods or weeds:
    • If you can, stay on the trail.
    • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants. You can even tuck your pants into your socks to keep tick away.
    • Use bug spray with 20% DEET on bare skin, particularly near the bottom of the pant legs and the ends of sleeves. Read the directions on the bug spray. Follow the directions.
    • After you have been in the woods or in weeds, check for ticks. Ask a friend to help.
    • Take a shower after hiking to help get rid of ticks.
  • If you find a tick stuck in your skin, ask another person to help you remove the tick:
    • Ticks should be removed with a pair of fine tipped tweezers.
    • With the tweezers, grab the tick firmly and as close to the skin as possible.
    • Pull the tick steadily and gradually away from the skin.
    • Clean the tick bite site with soap and warm water. 

Want to Learn More?

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)