As Spokane residents immerse themselves in warmer weather, many are spending more time outdoors and in their yards, exposing them to spring and summer pests and prompting phone calls to Spokane Regional Health District. This presents SRHD with the perfect opportunity to remind individuals about its Bring It, Summer Pests! prevention campaign.
Aimed at reducing the activity of spring and summer pests, the campaign’s variety of colorful backyard illustrations show simple measures people can take outside their homes to warn disease-carrying mosquitoes, ticks and mice they are not invited to the spring and summer fun.
Using the campaign’s simple landscaping tricks and following its tips to protect a home’s exterior, residents now have a useful weapon in confronting these pests and their associated diseases.
“Although preventing the spread of disease from animals to humans is a serious subject, we’re happy we can lighten things up with this fun and easy-to-use resource for fighting back against these pests,” said Sandy Phillips, technical advisor for SRHD’s Living Environment program.
Specific to mosquitoes, which are known to carry West Nile virus in this region, the campaign emphasizes draining and routinely emptying anything outside the home that holds water, as standing water can act as a breeding site.
Regarding the extent of West Nile virus in the community, each year, Washington State Department of Health’s Zoonotic Disease program works with partners throughout the state to monitor mosquito populations. Partners trap and submit mosquitoes to DOH for species identification and West Nile virus testing. Mosquito surveillance efforts in Spokane County historically confirm West Nile virus and subsequent transmission to people, horses and birds, peaking in late summer and early fall. SRHD expects 2019 to be a typical year in this regard—mosquitoes will carry and transmit West Nile virus.
When it comes to ticks, which in the past caused cases of relapsing fever and Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the Spokane region, Bring It, Summer Pests! emphasizes avoiding or controlling leaf litter and high grass outside the home. Ticks also find their way into homes and cabins on the coattails of mice, a pest the campaign also accounts for.
To avoid contact with potentially infectious mice that spread hantavirus, the campaign gives visual tips for controlling items near the home that could attract mice like trash, compost, birdfeeders, pet food, etc.
And since reducing the activity of these pests isn’t just about prevention in the backyard, the campaign also offers tips to round out a comprehensive prevention plan. To view the entire campaign and related fact sheets, go to srhd.org/bringit.
For residents with questions about pesky black flies, which do not carry disease, the health district has a separate page located here.
Information can also be found at www.srhd.org. SRHD’s web site offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips.