6-4-13: Pest Association Provides Tips for Enjoying Summer Without the Itch

Wet spring can lead to more biting insects such as mosquitoes and fire ants

Raleigh, N.C. – A rain-filled spring is expected to cause an increase in biting insects such as fire ants and mosquitoes. With summer just around the corner, the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA) is urging North Carolinians to begin preparing their yards for summer fun.

“Fire ants and mosquitoes thrive in extremely wet conditions, and the wet weather that we’ve experienced this spring will create a perfect environment for them to grow,” said Lee Smith, entomologist and board member of NCPMA.  “People should act now to prevent these pests from affecting their summer plans.”

According to the National Regional Climate Center, the statewide rainfall for April was 1.03 inches above normal.  Since April 27, rainfall totals at the National Weather Service station at Raleigh-Durham International Airport were 3.33 inches above normal.

“Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about mosquito or fire ant bites.  There are steps that people can take now to prevent these pests from becoming a problem this summer,” Smith said.  “Members of the North Carolina Pest Management Association receive regular training in identifying, treating and preventing these pests using the proper techniques and treatments.”

Red imported fire ants are dark reddish brown in color and build their nests in mounds in the ground.  These mounds can be found in yards, near sidewalks and in garages.  When their nests are disturbed or threatened, the ants will bite the attacker of the nest leaving painful welts.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water sites such as storm drains, bird baths, children’s wading pools and ponds and can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria and dengue fever.

To prevent mosquito and fire ant infestations, the NCPMA provides the following tips:

  • Eliminate Standing Water—Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Eliminate standing water in yards by diverting water away from homes through downspouts and changing the water in bird baths, ponds and other water features regularly.
  • Timing is Key—Avoid being outside during the peak mosquito hours of dusk or dawn or wear repellant when out during those hours.
  • Watch Out—Look out for mounds or ant hills in the yard and near sidewalks while walking outside.  Avoid any spots that appear to have the tell-tale mounds of fire ant nests.
  • Professional Treatments—Have a professional pest management company evaluate your yard for signs of mosquitoes or fire ants.  If needed, the professional pest management technician can properly apply a mosquito or fire ant treatment to the yard regularly.  If a pest problem is suspected, visit http://www.ncpestmanagement.org to find a qualified pest management company.

About the NCPMA

Founded in 1952, the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA), is the trade association representing the professional pest management industry in North Carolina. NCPMA promotes the continued cooperation and success of all pest management businesses in North Carolina.  NCPMA is the only statewide association dedicated to representing and educating North Carolina’s pest management professionals.

To learn more about NCPMA, please visit its Web site at:  www.ncpestmanagement.org.