Enjoy the outdoors this summer and help stop the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses by following these tips from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Commissioner Gary W. Black to ensure the safety of family, friends and pets.
• Take steps to protect skin from mosquito bites at all times of the day by applying an insect repellant containing at least 20 percent DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus. Also, consider wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes whenever possible.
• Mosquito-borne diseases that may be rare in the U.S. are common in many foreign countries, so anyone traveling outside of the country should be aware of travel advisories currently in effect. If a person falls ill upon returning home, seek prompt medical attention.
• Homeowners should eliminate areas of standing water around the property such as flowerpots, birdbaths, baby pools and grill covers. Mosquitoes need only about a half an inch of water to breed. It’s also recommended to screen all windows and doors, and patch up even the smallest tear. If there are concerns about mosquito activity, contact a licensed pest control company or your local mosquito abatement district.
With increasing concern about Zika virus and other mosquito-borne pathogens, some consumers are looking to hire a professional to provide mosquito control on their property. Consumers are urged to seek advice and use only licensed pest control companies that have a category 41 mosquito control license.
The Ag Department is responsible for licensing mosquito control companies and operators. It is illegal for contractors or companies that are not licensed in mosquito control by the department to practice mosquito control as a business.
There are approximately 450 licensed companies operating in Georgia.
Consumers can search and verify a licensed mosquito control operator by visiting the Department online at www.agr.georgia.gov.
Consumers are urged to report unlicensed operators to the department at 404-656-4958.