The Centers for Disease Control released information recently that reported, "Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016."

It was also revealed that nine new germs were released during this twelve year period from both ticks and mosquitos.

The CDC says the key to protecting yourself is preventing contact with these insects.

Maine is a hotbed for tick activity and mosquito season for us is right around the corner, so here is a list of recommendations that can help you avoid these bugs and their diseases:

  1. Use an Environmental Protection Agency  registered insect repellent.  Check out this tool from the EPA to find the repellent that is right for you depending on the insects you need repelled, how long you need it for or by particular ingredients.
  2. Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants.
  3. Treat close to the ground items, such as boots, socks and tents with permethrin or use permethrin-treated clothes and tents.  Permethrin is a synthetic chemical that acts like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower and is okay to use around food.
  4. Control ticks and fleas on your pets.
  5. Check and remove ticks from pets and family daily.  Here's how to remove ticks safely.
  6. Take steps to control mosquitos, ticks and fleas inside and outside your home.

For mosquitos you can take the following steps: make sure your windows have intact screens, use air conditioning to avoid keeping windows open, and dump and prevent still-standing water from collecting on your property where mosquitos like to breed.  For more tips for mosquito control, click here.

For ticks, you can take the following steps: use insecticides, prevent outside animals (like deer) from entering your yard with physical barriers (fencing), create a three foot barrier of wood chips or gravel between your yard and wooded area, cut grass regularly and reduce leaf litter.  For more tips for tick control, click here.

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