Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed on the blood of people while they sleep. Although the bite does not hurt at the time, it may develop into an itchy welt similar to a mosquito bite. Bed bugs do not transmit disease, but they can cause significant itchiness, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Bed bug infestations are also very difficult and expensive to control. Usually, bed bugs hide during the day and only come out to feed during the night. Unlike head lice, they do not live on a person. However, they can hitchhike from one place to another in backpacks, clothing, luggage, books, and other items.
How to check for bed bugs:
- Check seams, surfaces, or cuffs of shirts and blouses
- Inspect purses, computer bags, gym bags, and other items before bringing them into your home
- Examine pants for bed bugs by carefully inspecting seams, surfaces, and cuffs
- Inspect the tread of shoes and laces for clinging bed bugs
- Inspect nightstands and furniture next to bed using a flashlight to see inside drawers, set-in screw holes, cracks, and wood seams
- Inspect locations where you tend to rest such as beds and couches, carefully looking over seams, cracks, and crevices
Dos & don’ts:
- DO utilize bed bug monitors to capture any bed bugs
- DO NOT overuse bug bombs to control bed bugs – these do not control infestations and many house fires and explosions have been caused by the overuse of these devices
- DO use a bed bug mattress cover for your mattress and box springs
- DO NOT put insecticides or repellants on your skin or bedding to stop bed bugs from biting – these products pose more damage to you than bed bugs and do not prevent bed bug bites
- DO use a dryer for clothes, shoes, bed linens, and other possible items because the heat will kill all bed bugs and their eggs
- DO NOT attempt to control a bed bug infestation yourself with insecticides – insecticide exposure is dangerous for you and will not control bed bugs
Mosquitoes can cause illness. La Crosse encephalitis is spread by infected mosquitoes and usually affects children. There are about 50 cases of La Crosse encephalitis each year in West Virginia. West Nile virus is also spread by infected mosquitoes and usually affects the elderly. And, most recently in the news, the Zika virus can cause pregnancy complications and a number of other issues.
What can I do about mosquitoes?
- Empty standing water in old tires, cemetery urns, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes may breed.
- Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week if not more often.
- Drain or fill temporary pools with dirt.
- Keep swimming pools treated and circulating.
- Keep rain gutters clean and in good repair.
- Use mosquito repellents containing DEET. Apply sparingly to children before they play outdoors, and rinse children off with soap and water when they come back in. Do not apply repellent to the face and hands of young children because they may rub it in their eyes. Follow label directions and precautions closely.
- Use head nets, long sleeves, and long pants if you venture into areas with high mosquito populations.
- Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.”
Mosquito Control Myths
- FALSE: Ultraviolet lights used in bug zappers and ultrasonic devices are effective.
- FALSE: Bats and Purple Martin birds eat enough mosquitoes to be useful.
- FALSE: Citronella candles and citronella repellents, and garlic keep mosquitoes away.
- TRUE: Integrated pest management (IPM) is today’s standard for controlling mosquitoes. IPM involves surveillance, getting rid of mosquitoes, larvicide and biological controls, as well as public relations and education.
For more information on integrated pest management, click here.
For a color brochure on mosquito control, click here.
For a map of counties that have had infected mosquitoes, please see the Vector-borne Disease Report.
For help with a mosquito problem, call us at (304) 523-6483, ext. 264 and file a request for help.
Rabies is a disease that affects only mammals (such as raccoons, bats, dogs, horses, and humans). It is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Without treatment, it is 100 percent fatal. Rabies develops in two stages. During the first stage, which can last up to 10 days, the individual may have a headache, fever, decreased appetite, vomiting and general malaise, along with pain, itching, and tingling at the wound site. Symptoms of stage two include difficulty in swallowing, agitation, disorientation, paralysis, and coma. At this point, there is no known, effective treatment.
If rabies is identified early, a series of highly effective vaccinations can be administered. That’s why it’s important to capture and observe the animal that bit you. If the animal cannot be captured, but must be killed, the head should be kept intact so the brain can be examined for signs of rabies.
Tickborne diseases impact a great number of individuals and the environment. When facing vector threats such as ticks, it is important to learn about and utilize different tools for prevention and identification.
Follow the BLAST method for preventing and protecting yourself from ticks:
Bathe or shower within two hours of coming indoors
Look for ticks on your body and remove them safely
Apply repellant to your body and clothes
Spray your yard
Treat your pet
How should you dress for ticks?
- Use a chemical repellant with DEET, permethrin, or picaridin
- Tuck pant legs into socks
- Wear light colored clothes so you can easily spot a tick
- Avoid tick-infested areas
Click here for information on types of ticks, where they’re found, and the diseases they carry.