Protect Yourself From Summer Pests

August 26, 2019

As the days get warmer and sun light lasts longer, most people welcome the idea of enjoying the great outdoors. But we’re not alone out there—don’t forget to guard yourself from summer’s flying and crawling pests. Tick and mosquito activity peaks in the summer. In most cases, a bite from either is only a mild irritation; however, they both can carry diseases that cause serious health conditions. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself.


  • Peak time: late July through September
  • Diseases they can carry: West Nile virus; neuroinvasive diseases, such as encephalitis or meningitis; Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE); Dengue; Zika
  • Behavior: Generally most active from dusk to dawn
  • Places to avoid: Standing water and swampy areas
  • Did you know? Apply sunscreen before insect repellent
  • Prevention: Wear long sleeves/pants, use repellent and remove sources of standing water around your house as that can be a breeding ground for mosquitos.


  • Peak time: late March to mid-October
  • Diseases they can carry: anaplasmosis; babesiosis; ehrlichiosis; Lyme disease; RMSF; tularemia
  • Behavior: Ticks perch on tall blades of grass or plant stems and wait for something to brush past
  • Places to avoid: High grass and wooded areas
  • Did you know? Ticks secrete a natural anesthetic when they bite, so you may not know you were bitten
  • Prevention: Check yourself after being outdoors. If you find a tick, grab it as close as possible to the skin with tweezers and pull straight out. Wash your hands and the area around the bite with soap and water.

Watch out for more serious symptoms. Below are some warning signs that a bite may be more than a mild irritation. If you think you’re experiencing a serious health reaction to a bug bite, call your doctor right away.

  • Fever, chills and joint aches
  • A rash with a bull’s eye-like appearance
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Intense migraines
  • Dizziness and shortness of breath
  • Problems with short-term memory.

Also, if you have certain health conditions like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease or are taking immune-suppressant drugs, you may be at higher risk for the diseases these pests can carry. Talk to your doctor about the prevention that’s right for you.

Get Help

Contact the HOP Administration Unit for assistance with your questions.