LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Experts say warm weather creates an environment for insects to thrive, and as hotter weather is anticipated in the coming weeks and months, they say the best time for homeowners to protect themselves.
Louisa Messenger, a UNLV School of Public Health researcher who specializes in infectious diseases transmitted by insects, recommends people check their clothing and dog’s fur before going indoors after being outdoors. She says ticks will tend to hide out in tall grass and can latch onto the skin.
“Wear robust boots, long trousers, especially if you are out in those kinds of environments, particularly if you’re doing outdoor recreation, hiking, camping,” said Messenger. “But you may also be taking your dog for a walk.”
While there are few cases of West Nile each year in southern Nevada, Messenger says to expect more mosquitos than average in 2023, making it a good time to use bug repellent.
“Mosquitos that transmit West Nile are the type that will bite you early in the evening, just after dusk,’ said Messenger. “So this is the perfect time that you’d be sat outside, maybe having your dinner during summer months.”
Messenger advises double-checking water cans, fountains, and pools as mosquitos breed in still, standing water.
“Because it does get so severely hot here, you may see some insects come inside to take shelter,” said Messenger.
Kevin Rast from JS Pest Control anticipates a busy season for insects.
“The winter was extremely long, so the wetter the season, the more bugs have a chance to cultivate and become many,” explained Rast.
He said advised homeowners to cover tiny cracks or holes in their houses where bugs would be able to crawl inside and to inspect the inside of their homes carefully.
“Whenever you pick up towel or clothes off the floor, make sure you shake it out,” said Rast. “A lot of times spiders like to climb into shoes, so if you keep your shoes outside, always tap your shoes out.”
The black widow spider prevalent in Las Vegas, Rast said, has a neurotoxin that can make humans very sick if bitten. Rast advises people to avoid spider webs, especially the ones that look uneven or tangled. Those are signs that the web might belong to a black widow. Rast advises homeowners to trim and keep shrubs and trees away from doorframes and windows.
If a homeowner would prefer to avoid pesticides, they can use natural remedies such as tea tree oil, citronella, and mint to deter bugs.