When you consider the phrase “killer creatures” your mind most likely automatically turns to those creepy crawlers and vicious attackers of the animal kingdom such as snakes, sharks and other wild animals. You may be shocked to discover that the world’s deadliest creature is actually an insect. Mosquitoes kill more people world wild than sharks, wolves, lions, elephants, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, dogs, tape and round worms, freshwater snails, assassin bugs, Tsetse flies, snakes and humans combined! After adding together the reported number of fatalities from the animals listed above it came out to 586,220 deaths which is still 138,780 less than the astonishing 725,000 deaths from mosquitoes on a yearly basis.
Not every mosquito is a cold blooded killer, just the ones carrying infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus and Malaria. To put you at ease, Indiana cases of Malaria and the West Nile Virus are quite rare. According to the Indiana Epidemiology Report zero cases of Malaria were reported within the state last year. As far as the West Nile Virus is concerned, the United States Geological Survey Disease Map states that only ten cases were reported overall in 2014. However, even when they aren’t carrying diseases these bugs can still be quite a nuisance, this is why it’s best to be as prepared as possible to avoid being bitten and potentially exposed to a deadly disease.
When it comes to a mosquito’s ideal location, the wetter the better. To reduce the likelihood of these bloodsuckers infiltrating your home and yard do your best to dry up any standing water. Clean your gutters and eliminate any areas where they would be likely to breed such as old tires, empty flower pots and puddles and ponds with stagnant water. Keep grass and shrubbery properly maintained because adult mosquitoes can use unkempt lawns as hiding spots during the day.
Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk, avoid going out then if at all possible. Wear long sleeves and pants if venturing out during those times. Apply bug spray containing DEET to yourself and family members to keep from getting bitten. Burning Tiki-Torches or candles and oils with citronella, peppermint, tea tree, lemongrass or eucalyptus can help keep areas insect free. Applying those essential oils to your skin can also work as a natural repellent.
If you can’t avoid the dreaded bug-bite here are few tips to help you deal with the itchy new additions. First off, don’t scratch! Scratching will only further irritate the bite and can cause a greater risk for infection. Treat your bite as soon as you see it sprout up, clean it with rubbing alcohol and then apply an antihistamine lotion or cream.
Other less conventional methods include using toothpaste, deodorant and mouth wash to dry up the bite and leave you itch free. Using ice on your bug bite can help reduce swelling and cool the area down. Hot baths with the addition of oatmeal, salt or cider vinegar can also serve as a temporary way to sooth itchy skin. Click here to find more methods to keep your summer as itch-free as it possibly can be!