Be On the Alert! World’s Most Dangerous Creature Returning to Arizona Soon
- You can prevent and discourage this dangerous insect from growing on your property.
- When mosquitoes return to Arizona.
- The diseases mosquitoes carry can be deadly.
A Bucket Full of Trouble
My husband and I were feeding our horses over the weekend. I happened to notice a bucket he'd forgotten to return to the tack shed sitting out in the open. With the recent rain, the bucket had about two inches of water sitting in the bottom.
Fortunately, our temperatures have been around freezing every night, or we might be giving the world's deadliest creature a place to grow and thrive.
Mosquitoes in Arizona: More Than Annoying Pests
You know mosquitoes are not just annoying pests. Around the world, mosquitoes have been known to spread disease. The best defense for animals and humans against mosquito-borne illness is prevention.
When do Mosquitoes Return to Arizona?
Mosquitoes are active year-round in most parts of Arizona, but they become more abundant and noticeable during the summer and early fall when the monsoon rains create more breeding sites for them.
According to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, some mosquito species can survive the dry season as eggs or larvae and can wait until the next rainfall to hatch.
Others can breed in a surprisingly small amount of water, like the small puddles that collect in containers, plant saucers, and trash cans - or my horse's feed bucket.
How to Avoid Growing Mosquitoes in Arizona
The best way to prevent mosquitoes from breeding is to eliminate or reduce standing water around your home and yard. WikiHow advises that mosquito bites usually come from insects that are bred close by.
Here are some tips to keep mosquitoes from breeding on your property:
- Remove old tires, buckets, flowerpots, and other containers that can accumulate water.
- Change the water in bird baths and pet bowls at least once a week.
- Keep rain gutters and drains clean and free-flowing.
- Repair any leaks in your plumbing or irrigation system.
- Cover or treat any large water sources, such as pools, ponds, or cisterns, with larvicides or mosquito fish.
What Diseases Do Mosquitoes Cause?
Mosquito bites are not just uncomfortable and itchy, in Arizona they can transmit diseases to humans and animals. Here's a short list:
- West Nile virus: This is the most common mosquito-borne disease in Arizona, and it can cause fever, headache, and body aches. It can also cause more serious symptoms, like meningitis or paralysis.
- There is no specific treatment or vaccine for West Nile virus, so prevention is the best strategy.
- St. Louis encephalitis: This is a rare but potentially fatal disease that affects the brain and nervous system. It can cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and confusion.
- Like West Nile virus, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for St. Louis encephalitis, so avoiding mosquito bites is crucial.
- Dengue, chikungunya, and Zika: These are tropical diseases that are not currently transmitted by mosquitoes in Arizona, but they could be introduced by travelers who visit or return from affected areas. They can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and other symptoms.
- Zika can also cause birth defects in pregnant women. There is no treatment or vaccine for these diseases, so travelers should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and seek medical attention if they develop symptoms.
Prevention is Key
As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes, animals, and humans will all be sharing more space outdoors. The best way to prevent mosquito bites is with insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
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