This is undoubtedly the time of the year where the makers of Deep Woods Off and Muskol pack the bank account.
Our provincial bird “The Mosquito” is healthy and thriving in Northwestern Ontario, which I can attest to after spending a day cutting grass and piling firewood.
The bugs were horrendous and I went through my share of repellent to say the least.
With the high amounts of rain we have been receiving, it only fuels the reproductive activities of the mosquito. As most of you know and for those of you who don’t, mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. Usually swampy areas and marshes are the most common place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Some lay their eggs near the water’s edge and others will attach their eggs to aquatic plants.
However, just about anywhere water can accumulate, like in odd places such as discarded tires and pails, can become an attractant to the flying blood carriers.
Speaking of blood, did you know it’s only the female mosquitoes who actually try to extract the fluid from our bodies?
Mosquitoes of course can and have been known to carry disease, and some of the most common are malaria, yellow fever and West Nile virus.
West Nile virus (WNV) is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after being infected by feeding on the blood of birds that carry the virus. WNV was first identified in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937.
Since then it has been found in Israel, Egypt, Romania, the United States, Canada and Russia. It was first detected in North America in 1999 (New York) and since spread to Canada.
Cases are rare in Canada, however, some have been documented. In the Thunder Bay area we have only had a couple of cases reported since 2007 and at a very low risk.
So how do we protect ourselves from these pesky aggravating mini buzzards?
Repellent of course. The number one ingredient in most repellents is called DEET. When it’s used properly it can be very effective in warding off mosquitoes when they are thick.
Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and throughout the night into the dawn hours.
With repellents, the higher the DEET concentration, the longer it provides protection and the more effective it is.
Citronella is another effective repellent available on the market and can be applied directly to the skin much like DEET can.
There are many repellents on the market including sprays, lotions, solids and liquids depending on what your preference is. Aerosol spray cans seem to be the most popular by far as they are easily applied with little effort.
Anyone who is an avid outdoors person knows how frustrating mosquitoes and black flies can be, but one other insect we have to beware of is the tick and this is the time of the year they like to hitch rides on humans and animals.
The most common tick in our area is the wood tick. Ticks live and hide in low brush; this location allows them to physically contact a host. Once again DEET is a good repellent against such critters.
If you do indeed find a tick attached to yourself or your pet simply remove it with a pair of tweezers or a pin.
Mosquitoes, ticks and black flies are something that we have to endure if you want to be outdoors in Northwestern Ontario. However, we can make our experiences much more enjoyable if we take the proper precautions in order to avoid itchy bites and even worse, possible disease.
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