Bill Gates Raises Alarm Over This Menace: 'Kills More People In One Day Than Sharks Kill In 100 Years'
This article was originally published on July 25, 2022. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to improve healthcare and alleviate poverty in developing and under-developed countries, brought to attention a deadly natural menace that often goes unnoticed by many people. What Happened: The billionaire took to Twitter recently to emphasize the havoc caused by mosquitoes, which are the primary carriers of viral infection. Musk shared a video snippet from a "Shark Week" show, showing a shark holding on to its prey like a fighter jet even as it completely inverts.
There are two types of people in the world: those who get bitten by mosquitos on a regular basis and those who can be in a swarm and remain unscathed. © jiade/Shutterstock Mosquito
Mosquito bites usually result in red bumps that get itchy and may swell. When a mosquito bites you, it not only sucks out your blood, but they first inject its saliva into your skin, and that is what causes the itch (via Healthline). Some people mildly react to the saliva, which is made up of protein and anticoagulants, but others have an intense reaction that can cause large, itchy, and painful bumps.
However, mosquito bites can cause more than just an intense itch. With over 200 types of mosquitoes, they can also carry and infect you with germs, parasites, and viruses (via CDC). Diseases such as West Nile virus, Dengue, and Malaria can be transmitted by mosquitoes — and the best way to avoid getting bitten is to prevent them from inhabiting your home, inside and out.
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Remove All Water Around Your Home © ioanna_alexa/Shutterstock Buckets outside house
The first thing to know is that mosquitos love water. They gravitate toward standing water to lay their eggs, which is how a yard or outside area can become infested. According to the American Mosquito Control Association, mosquito eggs hatch within 2 to 3 days. Depending on the type of mosquito, eggs are typically laid in water, especially on the surface.
Although most male mosquitoes die in cold temperatures, female mosquitoes can hibernate for up to six months (via Reader's Digest). That's why waiting for cold weather won't necessarily kill mosquitoes around your home. "Homeowners should survey their property for any and all areas where water may collect and become stagnant," says entomologist Timothy Best. "These areas could include saucers underneath potted plants, birdbaths, children's play equipment, clogged gutters; the list of possible reservoirs is likely infinite."
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It also doesn't have to be a great amount of water to allow mosquitos to thrive. Best explains, "While some species may require more water than others, say a defunct and neglected swimming pool, some species like the Asian tiger mosquito only require the equivalent of a bottle cap of water to support their development."
Clean Up Your Outdoor Space © Virrage Images/Shutterstock Gardener trimming bush
Another way to keep mosquitos away is to maintain your outdoor area. Sweep up leaves daily, trim any trees on your property and remove garbage. Per Homes & Gardens, entomologist Dr. Nancy Troyano says to keep your vegetation trimmed because "during the heat of the day, mosquitoes spend their time resting on low-lying vegetation to avoid drying out."
Rearranging your yard furniture can also help. "Move play equipment and patio furniture away from dense foliage areas," says Troyano. "Mosquitoes like to hide in these areas, and being close to them will make it easier for mosquitoes to bite you."
Are you a mosquito magnet? It may be because of your smell, new study suggests
In a tournament-like experiment, mosquitoes were consistently attracted to one subject more than any other.Mosquitoes are one of the most dangerous animals on the planet, contributing to the spread of deadly diseases like malaria, which kills hundreds of thousands of humans every year. There are even mosquitoes that "prefer to bite people.
Though keeping citronella candles on outdoor patio tables is heavily marketed as keeping mosquitos away, excerpts say it doesn't always work. Emma Grace Crumbley, an entomologist told USA Today, "The smell of citronella in a concentrated form (like a candle) is a repellent. " However, it's a bit more complicated since a mosquito needs to be in exactly the right place. Crumbley says, "The smoke or the scent actually has to get between you and the mosquito in order to keep them away from your skin, which can be tricky."
Safeguard Your Indoor Space © Photoroyalty/Shutterstock Woman closing window
The best way to keep mosquitoes from entering your home is to keep it as airtight as possible. This starts with keeping the doors closed. Also avoid holding doors open for a long time when entering and exiting your home, and ask family members and roommates to do the same. Mosquitos can also get a ride in on your dog or cat when they come inside.
Next, make sure any screens are in good shape (via Forbes). Mosquitos can squirm their way into a very tiny hole in the screen. If you have damaged screens, get them fixed or buy new ones.
It also helps to use fans. Fans help to disseminate the carbon dioxide emitted by humans through the air and they also confuse insects on the flight pattern. Another way to keep mosquitoes away is to not keep the lights on. They will fly a great length toward a light in the darkness.
Keep in mind that water on the inside can attract mosquitoes (via Orkin). Make sure you empty pet bowls daily and don't overwater indoor plants.
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