Since 1999, more than 30,000 people in the United States have been reported as getting sick with West Nile Virus (WNV), a disease spread by infected mosquitoes. As of August 28th, 48 states have reported WNV infections.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 70 percent of the cases have been reported from six states (Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan) and over 45 percent of all cases have been reported from Texas.
This year alone, over 2300 positive test results for WNV have been reported in Louisiana. For a parish-by-parish breakdown, see the WNR maps provided by the USGS.
The West Nile threat shouldn't be taken lightly, and mosquitoes are public enemy #1. To avoid being bitten, experts advise applying mosquito repellent when venturing outdoors, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants in wooded areas, and avoiding perfumes and colognes.
Mosquito population control is also important. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. An inch or less is plenty, so turning over buckets and trash cans, drilling holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers, and cleaning roof gutters are vital.
If you enjoy gardening, barbecuing, or sitting out by the pool, you might also want to invest in a "bug zapper!" You often see these devices in the garden section of home improvement stores, but many have drawbacks. Units that incinerate insects with high voltage are downright gruesome, particularly with larger species of bugs, plus they're messy to clean.
Fortunately, a company called Dynamic Solutions claims their DYNATRAP line provides a 3-way protection plan for insect elimination, using sophisticated technology.
First, DYNATRAP uses UV fluorescent bulbs to produce warm light to attract insects. Second, a coating of titanium dioxide (TiO2) produces carbon dioxide (CO2), which is irresistible to mosquitoes. Third, insects are lured to a powerful vacuum fan, which deposits them in a retaining cage, where they dehydrate and die, so cleaning is easy.
The DYNATRAP DT250IN Indoor Mosquito Insect Trap is designed to capture moths, flies, and other common household flying insects with no odors, burning smell, or harmful chemicals. The unit is about the size of a large thermos, covers up to 1,000 sq. ft., and sells for $110. For more information, visit DYNATRAP.com.
For your backyard, the company also offers the DYNATRAP DT1100, which includes several installation options, including a hanging chain (included), wall-mount (included), or stand-mounted (optional). The unit comes with a 10 ft. power cord, making it easy to achieve optimum placement 3 feet or higher above ground. The device sells for $139 and is rated for up to 1/2 acre. For more information, visit DYNATRAP.com.
The DYNATRAP 2000XL is for even larger outdoor areas. It features two UV light bulbs and is rated for up to one acre. The 6W lamps are rated for up to 5000 hours and cost $13 each to replace. The 2000XL has an MSRP of $229. For more information, visit DYNATRAP.com.
Dynamic Solutions also manufactures what is known as a "racket zapper." The DYNAZAP Extendable Insect Zapper has a telescopic wand and a head that bends in multiple directions. This "flyswatter on steroids" kills mosquitoes, wasps, flies, hornets, yellow jackets and other annoying flying insects on contact. The unit uses two AA batteries (included) and sells for $26. For more information, visit DYNATRAP.com.