In the midst of mosquito season Terminix did some crowd-sourcing and made an event by asking users on Twitter and Facebook to send in their mosquito-related questions.
By tagging Terminix and using the hashtag #mosquitoweekchat, Dr. Stan Cope, Terminix’s director of entomology and regulatory services, answered questions on June 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Those who sent in questions had the chance to win $100 Visa gift cards. A majority of the questions led to conversations about the Zika virus and how people can protect themselves. Cope responded to many questions with links and videos with easy explanations. The questions and answers here were pulled from Facebook and Twitter and were edited for space and clarity. Select here to see entire thread. Here are many of the questions and what Cope had to say:
Meghan on Facebook Q: “What are signs that you have been infected with the Zika virus?”
@Terminix A: Hello Meghan, Zika symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. If you are concerned about the virus, consult your doctor.
Joseph on Facebook Q: “What body part are mosquitoes more likely to bite?”
@Terminix A: Hello Joseph, studies show that odors released via perspiration can attract mosquitoes. Feet, ankles, wrists and hands all tend to be exposed to the elements and collect moisture, making them perfect targets for mosquitoes. Don’t skip the deodorant!
@chhhad Q: “What’s the biggest misconception about mosquitoes?”
@Terminix A: That they only bite at night! Unlike vampires, some species, including Zika mosquitoes, actually prefer to bite during the day. Thanks Chad!
@7Reisen Q: “Where are mosquitoes most likely to be found?”
@Terminix A: Adult mosquitoes tend to be found in dark, moist and out-of-the-wind places. Like vegetation and under sheds. Mosquito babies are found in still water.
Suzanne on Facebook Q: “Can animals/pets contract the Zika virus?”
@Terminix A: Hey Suzanne, according to the CDC, animals in the United States are not at risk. There have been no reports of pets becoming sick with Zika.
@Summrluver Q: “It’s hard to believe we usually feel mosquitoes on us and biting. Do they actually land on you?”
@Terminix A: Yes! Female mosquitoes land and probe the skin with their mouthparts until they locate an easy way to suck your blood. In fact, their mosquito spit, which they inject as they suck your blood, keeps blood from clotting.
@Sueann202 Q: “Is this virus as serious as it’s played out to be or are we being scared by the media?”
@Terminix A: Thanks Susan! The primary population at risk is pregnant women and unborn children. The vast majority of people who contract Zika virus will have no symptoms (80 percent) or mild symptoms (20 percent).
@IWantcoffeeasap Q: “There has to be a safe non-chemical way to deter mosquitoes. Any suggestions?”
@Terminix A: Hello Gerald, Our eco-friendly service uses garlic oil and fruit extracts. Actually, we’re the only company that offers a bait product that kills mosquitoes.
Julie on Facebook Q: “What are the best steps to protect ourselves from the Zika virus?”
@Terminix A: Thanks Julie! Protect yourself from bites by sporting light, loose clothing with full coverage and using EPA-registered repellents with 20 to 30 percent DEET.
@janemmason Q: “Are the virus epidemics in bat colonies affecting the total mosquito population?”
@Terminix A: Thanks Jane! Science shows that less than 1 percent of what a bat consumes in one evening are mosquitoes, so it’s not likely there’s a significant change in mosquito populations due to bat diseases.
April on Facebook Q: “How do I keep mosquitoes out of my grandson’s baby pool?”
@Terminix A: Thanks, April! Mosquitoes aren’t picky, they will use any still sources of water to lay eggs! Continue dumping out the water at the end of each day to prevent skeeters from making your pool their breeding ground.
@7Reisen Q: “How do we protect our pets from this disease? Is there a spray for them as well?”
@Terminix A: Consult a vet for Fido’s treatment! Our eco-friendly mosquito service is pet-friendly.
@AlwysGiveThanks Q: “How much blood do they take before they leave their victim?”
@Terminix A: Mosquitoes drink 0.001 to 0.01 milliliters of blood each time they feed. That’s less than half a teardrop. Woah!
@AlwysGiveThanks Q: “How many people die per year from mosquitoes?”
@Terminix A: The @WHO estimates that worldwide over 1 million people die from mosquito-borne diseases each year.
@kymnasium Q: “How do mosquitoes find us? By scent, light, heat, sight?”
@Terminix A: The primary thing they’re attracted to is carbon dioxide (through their antennae), which we put out with our breath and skin.
@marleykristin Q: “Don’t mosquitoes cause heartworms in dogs?”
@Terminix A: Mosquitoes do transmit heartworm to dogs, and occasionally cats.
@MissMommaDukes Q: “Didn’t realize mosquitoes had such a short life! Does that mean they reproduce and hatch eggs quickly as well?
@Terminix A: After a single blood meal, a female mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs.
@notjeanine Q: “Is it true that if you rub a fabric softener sheet on yourself it will keep a mosquito from biting you?”
@Terminix A: There’s no scientific evidence to support that unfortunately.
@7Reisen Q: “Is this virus completely new, or has it been around for a while? And how do mosquitoes contact the virus?”
@Terminix A: Great question! Zika originated in Uganda in 1947, and spread to the Western Hemisphere last year.
@abbynaverysmom Q: “Is there anything else besides humans that mosquitoes are attracted to?”
@Terminix A: Yes, mosquitoes also feed on other large mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
@mirakurls Q: “Do mosquitoes provide any benefits like bees produce honey?”
@Terminix A: Unfortunately not. I wouldn’t want to taste what they cooked up anyway.
@ParkerlizBrown Q: “We have a pool. What can we do to keep mosquitoes at bay?”
@Terminix A: As long as your pool is properly maintained, mosquitoes will not breed in it. Keep that pump running and maintain a proper pH balance. And pool covers collect standing water, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
@cdhabolt Q: “Can we get the Zika virus from any mosquito bite?
@Terminix A: As far as we know Zika virus is only transmitted through infected yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes.
@TommiesMommy14 Q: “I have heard a lot lately about wearable repellents like wrist bands. Do these actually work?”
@Terminix A: For most of these devices, there’s no scientific proof that they’re effective.
@KYfamof4 Q: “What is the most effective way to treat bites to reduce size and itching?”
@Terminix A: There are a lot of home remedies, but my go-to is an ice cube massage, especially in the dead of summer!
@AlwysGiveThanks Q: “Can a mosquito bite you underwater?”
@Terminix A: Nope! A mosquito can’t bite you underwater.
@marleykristin Q: “Do mosquitoes do anything good for our environment?”
@Terminix A: In the immature and adult stages, mosquitoes serve as part of the food chain.
@janemmason Q: “What can be put in the yard while entertaining to repel mosquitoes?”
@Terminix A: I would recommend an EPA-registered mosquito repellent, but floor fans outdoors also help.