Vector Control (Mosquitoes, Ticks, Bed Bugs)
Haywood County has a mosquito control program that consists of surveillance, education, vector identification, and control options.
Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance to citizens, but also a public health concern. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as Zika, LaCrosse encephalitis, West Nile virus, and eastern equine encephalitis. The goal of our program is to stop mosquito populations at the larval stage. This can be done by eliminating artificial and natural bodies of standing water.
Learn how to protect yourself from mosquitoes and how to eliminate habitats by visiting the Centers for Disease Control website.
Breeding & Sources:
Water is the necessary ingredient for mosquitoes to breed. They lay their eggs in water and then those eggs develop into larvae. Larvae is the stage in which most of the development of the mosquito occurs. The larvae feed on organic matter in the water, grow, and develop into pupae. The pupal stage is the last step before they hatch out into flying adults.
The breeding cycle from egg to adult only takes about a week and can be done in as little as a teaspoon of water. Once a mosquito hatches it usually limits its flying range to about 300 yards. Most people that experience a mosquito problem are usually very close to the breeding source.
Control and Treatment:
The best control for mosquito populations is the removal of standing water sources which support their existence (“Tip & Toss”) When sources cannot be permanently eliminated, then various physical, chemical, or biological control measures can be put in place. One such method is the use of larvicides which control the breeding of mosquitoes while they are in their larval stages.
Most adult mosquitoes live about 2-3 weeks. Once the breeding source has been eliminated, it is only a matter of time before the adult mosquitoes die, thus relieving the problem.
Ticks are another vector of public health significance. They are capable of transmitting diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and Lyme. It is important to note that Lyme disease is endemic in Haywood County.
Ticks are generally found near the ground, in brushy or wooded areas. They cannot jump or fly. Instead, they climb tall grasses or shrubs and wait for a potential host (bird, animal, or human) to brush against them; this is called “questing.” The tick then climbs onto the host and seeks a site for attachment in order to feed on the host’s blood.
Tick Bites & Removal:
Most tick bites occur from early spring to late summer in areas where there are many wild animals and birds. It is important to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Removing the tick’s body helps to avoid diseases the tick could pass on during feeding, and removing the head helps prevent an infection in the skin.
The safest way to remove a tick is to grasp it with tweezers as close to your skin as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk, as this can cause the mouth parts to break off in your skin. Avoid folklore remedies such as nail polish or burning. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands.
More tick information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website.
The bad news about bed bugs is they seem to be everywhere. The good news is they have not been shown to transmit diseases from one person to another. Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to eliminate. They spend most of their time hiding and only come out occasionally to feed, and infestations may go undetected until the bed bugs are widespread. It can take up to 72 hours to have a reaction to a bed bug bite. Some people do not react to bites at all, while other people have severe reactions.
Most over-the-counter pesticides are not designed for bed bugs and the use of these products, while they may kill some bed bugs, is unlikely to eliminate most bed bug infestations, and may only spread the bugs. It is strongly recommended that control of bed bugs be handled by a professional pest control company with experience dealing with bed bugs. Control often requires multiple visits.
One thing you can do to prevent bringing bed bugs into your home is to carefully inspect any used furniture or clothing before bringing it inside. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, but baby bed bugs (called nymphs) may be difficult to see. Heat kills bed bugs, so if you can put items in a clothes dryer on high heat for 30 minutes it will kill any bed bugs that may be present. You can also close items up in black trash bags and place them in the trunk of your car parked in direct sunlight for several days; in the summer, temperatures get high enough in an enclosed trunk to kill bed bugs. When traveling, carefully inspect the mattress boxsprings, and headboard for bed bugs or signs of them, and do not bring personal items into the hotel/motel until you have verified that it is bug-free.
Since bed bugs have not been demonstrated to transmit diseases, there are no laws, rules, or regulations to address this problem in NC. However, if you have questions or concern about bed bugs, we are happy to provide you with information.
You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control website for more information.