Whenever you see a spring with many days of rain, like we’ve had, it’s a good bet you will see a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it) population of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are harmful enough just biting you, but there is also the risk of West Nile Virus which has killed 59 people in Ohio since the year 2000, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In 2012 the number was seven fatalities out of 121 cases. The worst year for WNV was 2002 when 441 cases were reported and 31 were fatal.
For most people there are no symptoms when bitten by a WNV-carrying mosquito. For some there are flu-like symptoms that can last for weeks. For a small number, usually people with weak immune systems, the illness requires hospitalization and could be fatal.
So how does one reduce the chance of mosquito bites? The state health department recommends:
-- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
-- Wear long sleeves and pants from dusk through dawn when many mosquitoes are most active.
-- Install or repair screens on windows and doors. If you have it, use your air conditioning.
-- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths.
Some other tips I have picked up include:
-- Keep the lids on trash cans to keep out the rain.
-- Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
-- Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week or store in a position that water will drain.
-- Keep grass cut short around the house, so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.
-- Wear clothing treated with insect repellents when outdoors.
Trail gets boost: The Little Miami State Park Trail that passes through Greene, Warren, Hamilton and Cleremont Counties is the latest park to be earmarked for part of the $88.5 million being doled out by the legislature for improvements in state parks.
Capital improvements will include repairing and repaving areas of the 50-mile segment of the trail as needed, shoring up areas of slippage and fortifying shorelines, repairing and replacing guardrails and fences and repairing bridges and storm water culverts.
For more information, visit ohiodnr.gov.
Yellow perch stocked: For the third straight year, yellow perch fingerlings have been stocked in Grand Lake St. Marys. Some 308,000 perch have been stocked in Ohio’s largest inland lake since 2012. The idea is to reestablish a reproducing perch population. It takes about three years for the fish to grow to keeper size.