MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Barbeques, swimming pools, camping and beach days signify the start of a Michigan summer. However, it’s not all fun in the sun when mosquitos and ticks start popping up.
Mosquitoes and ticks are both disease-carrying organisms that can ruin summer fun. Mosquitoes can carry malaria, Zika virus, the West Nile virus and more. Ticks most commonly transmit Lyme disease to humans and pets, but can also transmit Tularemia, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and more.
To protect against these pests, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, or MDARD, recommends using repellents on the skin to protect from bites, using sprays that have the active ingredients of DEET, Picardian, Insect Repellent 3535, Para-methane-diol or 2-undecanone. For a more natural approach, lemon eucalyptus, citronella, geranium and rosemary essential oils can be used in making a DIY insect repellent.
Another way to avoid these pests are by using citronella candles, wearing lighter colored clothing and pretreating clothing and other outdoor gear with permethrin.
A way to prevent being bitten is to reduce the population size overall. One way to do this with mosquitoes is to remove any standing water around the area where mosquito populations tend to breed. Maintaining lawns by keeping shrubs and grass short will provide the insect with fewer areas for adult mosquitoes to rest after flying and eliminating tick habitats.
Protecting pets will help prevent a household infestation of ticks and other pests such as fleas. Treat dogs and cats with a flea and tick control product such as a topical product or flea and tick collars and check pets frequently for any bites or bugs that need to be removed.
Mosquito and pest control companies are another route to take when applying insecticides. All companies are required to have insurance and meet certain qualifications, as well as pass the MDARD proficiency exam. Pest control companies in the Meridian Township area include Mosquito Squad of Greater Lansing and Hometown Pest and Lawn.
Before spending a day with the birds and sun at the Harris Nature Center on 3998 VanAtta Road in Okemos, Park Naturalist Allison Goodman suggests wearing lightweight clothing and using bug spray on clothing before going through the trails. The nature center itself does not use any preventative sprays or measures to protect against ticks and mosquitoes in order to keep pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, protected.
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