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Tick, mosquito numbers on the rise in Mid-Missouri

Tick, mosquito numbers on the rise in Mid-Missouri

July 15th, 2019 by Shelby Matthews in News

Also called wood ticks, dog ticks are most likely to bite people during spring and summer.

Photo by Submitted photo

With receding floodwater and warm weather, people can expect to see a rise in the number of ticks and mosquitoes in Mid-Missouri.

Warm and humid weather provides a conducive environment for these insects and increases their available breeding grounds. When the temperature is 70-90 degrees, tick and mosquito populations increase.

Ticks and mosquitoes can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus and Lyme disease. The nearest cases of West Nile virus to Cole County were recorded in Boone County in 2015 and 2018, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are many different ways to prevent being affected by these nuisances for yourself, your yard and your pets.

There are a number of ways people can prevent themselves from falling victim to ticks and mosquitoes, and it can start with clothing.

Cole County Environmental Supervisor Joe Gasser recommends wearing white clothing.

"Wear white clothing, wear bug spray, be aware of their environment," Gasser said.

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Mike Sapp, Cole County health code compliance officer, also recommends Permethrin.

"This is something that you can spray on your clothes, but just your clothes and not skin," Sapp said. "It is a chemical product that could cause irritation to skin if contact is made.

If someone does end up with a tick on them, the goal would be to get it off as soon as possible.

"If it's not latched on to you, it is less of a concern," Gasser said. "But if it is, what you want to do is get a pair of tweezers and get as close as possible to it before pulling it out, then get a cotton swab and thoroughly clean it."

Jeannette Bernskoetter at Art's Pest Control said the first step to preventing mosquitoes in a yard is eliminating their breeding grounds.

"Keep your gutters clean; and keep your birdbaths, old tires, wheelbarrows and swimming pool covers free of standing water," Bernskoetter said.

She also recommends leveling out soil in low parts of the yard.

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Ticks like tall grass and shaded areas, Bernskoetter said.

"It's important to keep your lawn mowed and remove leaves and other debris," she said. "The more sun that hits your yard, the better for keeping ticks away."

Pest control businesses also offer services to help control these insects.

Ticks can also be an issue for animals when the grass is taller. The National Pest Management Association recommends tick-prevention collars along with inspecting pets when they come inside.

As with humans, the best method to remove ticks is with tweezers, grabbing them as close as possible to the skin.

Pets are also susceptible to diseases like West Nile virus from mosquito bites. They can also contract heartworm disease.

Pet owners are encouraged to make sure there are no areas of water in their yard, as mosquitoes only need a half-inch of water to breed.

Pet owners should consult with a veterinarian before spraying bug spray.