small insects that bite dogs

Spring is underway on Long Island! Unfortunately, with all its beauty and excitement, spring brings more than just April showers. Two of the most dangerous pests we deal with on Long Island really come into play this time of year: mosquitoes and ticks. Read on to learn about the behavior of these key spring pests and how you can prevent them in your yard to best protect your family and pets.  

What Are Insect-Borne Diseases?  

Insect-borne diseases are viral or bacterial illnesses that are caused by insect bites that can affect humans and animals. A few common diseases spread by insects you’re probably already familiar with are Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and heartworms.   

The Truth About Mosquito Bites  

For years, mosquitoes have been considered by the Center for Disease Vector Research as one of the most dangerous insects in the world. Not only are they itchy and annoying, but they can spread life-threatening diseases to both people and pets. According to the World Health Organization, more than half of the world’s population is currently at risk for mosquito-borne diseases.  

Because they fly, mosquitoes are more than just small insects that bite, and can quickly spread a variety of illnesses. A few common diseases mosquitoes transmit include West Nile Virus, Chikungunya, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Zika Virus, and more. Compared to illnesses that are spread from person to person such as COVID-19, mosquitoes can spread disease even more quickly.  

How Do Mosquitoes Spread Disease?  

Mosquitoes transmit disease through their bites, and while not every mosquito will pass along a serious infectious disease, there’s really no way to know what will happen, which is why prevention is key from the start during mosquito season.  

Such as is the case with heartworms in dogs, mosquitoes bite an animal such as a dog, and the dog serves as the definitive host, meaning that the parasite matures, mates, and produces offspring all while living inside the dog’s body.  

Female heartworms release their offspring into the dog’s bloodstream and whenever a mosquito bites an infected dog, that mosquito becomes infected with the heartworm’s offspring. Over the next 10 to 14 days and under the right environmental conditions, the offspring become infective, as well, all while living inside the mosquito. When an infected mosquito bites another dog, the mosquito spreads the infective larvae to the dog through the bite wound. Then, over the next 6-7 months, the infective larvae mature into adult heartworms inside the newly infected dog.  

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away  

While mosquito repellant is never a bad idea, truly preventing mosquitoes starts with eliminating the water sources they need to survive and reproduce. Start by clearing your gutters, storm drains, downspouts, and water wells. Check for other areas which can contain standing water that often go unnoticed, such as inside children’s toys in the yard, tires, and plant pots. Keep your grass and bushes short to prevent water from collecting.  

Tick-Borne Diseases to Know  

Particularly during the spring, late summer, and early fall on Long Island, ticks are out in full force, and you and your pets are prime targets! If your family dog spends a lot of time lounging in the grass or walking by your side outdoors, it’s quite possible they’re going to end up with a tick on them, so knowing some common tick diseases you and your pets could be at risk for is important.  

Ticks, like mosquitoes, feed on animal and human blood and attach their mouthparts into the skin of their victims. After successfully attaching themselves, ticks begin feeding on the blood of their host. Ticks, too, are known to transmit an array of diseases, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis, to name a few.  

Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease? 

Like mosquitoes, not all ticks are dangerous. In fact, the majority of ticks, including the deer tick that is most common in our area, are not carrying disease, however, it’s been reported that around 30-35 percent of deer ticks (a common species of ticks on Long Island) are carrying Lyme. In order to transmit disease, ticks must be fully embedded and engorged following their feedings.  

How to Prevent Ticks   

Beyond a regular tick medication for your pets, treating your yard with both granular and liquid materials is the single most effective way to reduce the tick population in your yard.   

Protect Your Family this Spring with the Best Pest Control on Long Island!  

Suburban Exterminating offers effective tick and mosquito control to Long Island residents. Whether you’re looking for ongoing treatments while these pests are active or simply need a one-time treatment before an outdoor event, we can help. Contact us at (631/516? 864-6900 to learn more about our tick and mosquito extermination services!   

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