June and early July typically mark the beginning of West Nile season, a time when you should become wary of mosquitoes and work to eliminate all standing water on your property.
But thanks to an unusually mild and wet winter, we are well into the thick of West Nile season already, with 25 counties logging West Nile-positive mosquitoes to date, says Amanda Witman, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Lehigh: 5 positive mosquito samples
Northampton: 1 positive avian sample
Montgomery: 5 positive mosquito samples
Bucks: 3 positive mosquito samples
Delaware: 7 positive mosquito samples
Philadelphia: 1 positive mosquito sample
There have been no human cases of the mosquito-borne infection in Pennsylvania so far this year. Symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Click here for a complete list of symptoms and more detail on who is most at risk.
To protect yourself, Witman gave these pointers:
- Eliminate all standing water. “That could include wheelbarrows and children’s wading pools. Turn those over or put them away...Stagnant water is where the mosquitoes breed."
- Clean out roof gutters. "That is another area they like."
- If you do have an ornamental pond or pool, "a good way to mitigate is to aerate or stock with fish."
- Make sure screens are tight and in good condition.
- Limit exposure at peak mosquito times, which are dawn and dusk.
- Use a repellent. "Natural options include oil of lemon eucalyptus."