Pests & COVID-19: What do you need to know?

There have been lots of questions surrounding COVID-19 as we all work to understand and navigate this uncertain time. A common worry over the past few weeks has been, “Can mosquitoes spread Coronavirus?” In short, the answer is no. Mosquitoes are not able to spread the virus. They do spread other diseases like Zika virus, Chikungunya, West Nile, and Dengue Fever, but as of right now there are no reports of Coronavirus being spread to humans by the summer’s most annoying pest. Infectious disease and internal medicine specialist, Dr. Mary Schmidt, said “In order for this to happen in real life, the mosquitoes would have to acquire the virus during feeding, the virus then undergoes replication in the gut tissue, disseminates to the secondary sites of replication, including the salivary glands, and is ultimately released into the arthropod’s salivary secretions, where it may be inoculated into the skin and cutaneous vasculature of the host (human) during subsequent feeding”. Basically this means there would have to be some really tricky business going on inside the mosquito in order for it to transmit the virus and ultimately, experts don’t expect this to happen.

A mosquito larva found by an APC techn in just inches of water

So for now, try to steer clear of mosquitoes as you normally would, but don’t panic about a threat of COVID-19 transmission. To cut down on populations in your yard eliminate any areas of standing water (even something as small as a bottle cap can hold hundreds of larvae!) and look into a mosquito reduction service. There are a few other trends in the pest world that have shown surprising relation to the pandemic:

Like mosquitoes, there’s no evidence that ticks can transmit Coronavirus. They do, however, transmit Lyme disease, which can cause flu-like symptoms and weaken the immune system. Lone star tick bites can also trigger a rare allergy to galactose. For those unlucky folks who have encountered these infected pests, that means no burgers, no steaks, no red meat at all. For meat-lovers, it would definitely put a damper on summer grilling season.

The white marking is a distinguishing feature of female Lone Star ticks.

Now that socializing and outings are limited, a lot of people are spending more time outdoors in their yards, parks, and other places where they can enjoy nature. While this is a great escape from the stresses of our world right now, it brings with it a greater risk for tick bites. When hiking or spending time in grassy areas, you should wear long-sleeved, light colored clothing and closed-toe shoes to lessen your risk. Pets are also susceptible to tick bites so we recommend a flea and tick preventative. Pet owners should also comb through the pets’ fur after spending time outside to check for any unwanted pest guests.

This global pandemic has caused quite a few shortages. Toilet paper, Lysol, hand sanitizer, and even certain foods have been hard to come by lately. Believe it or not, rodents are also feeling the pressure of this temporary normal. With restaurants and businesses being closed, urban areas which were once bustling with people (and food, and trash, and plenty of crumbs) are now basically empty. So the rats and mice that were used to dining out in the dumpsters of these happening spots are left wondering where their next meal is coming from. Bobby Corrigan, the nation’s top rodentologist, was quoted saying “We don’t want those animals in our apartments, houses, restaurants or grocery stores because you end up playing disease lottery if that happens. You don’t want any one of those 55 diseases.”

A rat in the streets of New Orleans searching for food.

Take the French Quarter for example. New Orleans has been a hot spot for rodent activity since the city has been on lock down. Rats only need about a half-inch opening to enter a structure so your best defense is sealing up any cracks or openings that could allow them to enter your home or business. For restaurants and other businesses that serve food, it might seem like the time to cancel pest prevention services, but it’s actually the ideal time battle these rodents with a more aggressive treatment plan.

Pest Management services have been deemed essential across the U.S. so most pest control companies will continue offering services during this time. At American Pest Control, some of the measures we’re taking to keep our customers and employees safe include encouraging perimeter-only services, pest identification via text, zero contact billing options, restricting office visitors, and personal protective equipment. We’re still here to serve our communities with the same level of customer service you’ve come to expect from us!