West Nile virus is widely recognized on several continents, where humans have evolved antibodies, and illness or death is uncommon.
It was not, however, known to the American continent until three years ago. When New York’s crows were dying in droves, one was spotted and studied on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo in 1999.
West Nile then spread throughout practically the whole Northern continent, infecting thousands of people and killing at least 241. It left a massive number of dead animals in its wake.
Viruses are often host-specific. Unfortunately, this is not the case with West Nile virus. So far, at least 36 mosquito species have been identified as carriers. This virus is spread by mosquitos to a broad range of animals, including humans, mammals, birds, and reptiles, which is rare for a virus.
It harmed some 200 bird, reptile, and mammal species in 2002 alone. West Nile Virus not only destroyed a wide range of animals, but also many other species in zoos and even pets. We learned about many squirrels, chipmunks, mountain goats, reindeer, rabbits, bats, hawks, eagles, owls, pelicans, doves, gulls, herons, kingfishers, swans, sparrows, turkeys, woodpeckers, seals, flamingos, and other animals. Researchers discovered 140 different bird species ill or dead from the West Nile virus. More than 200 alligators were killed at Florida’s alligator farms. Last summer, there were 14,000 ill horses in our houses, as well as an unknown number of dogs, cats, and birds.
Researchers discovered that mosquitoes are not the primary vectors of West Nile; raptors may get the virus by consuming infected prey. Some birds disseminate it by their droppings, while others pass it on to their young while still in the egg.
All of this is not just frightening, but also worrisome. We can protect ourselves by applying mosquito repellant, but what about our furry friends?
Let’s start inside. Make sure there are no gaps in the screens on the windows and doors so that mosquitoes cannot enter. Plants such as sweet basil should be present in every room. The greatest defense is to keep them at a safe distance. Plant basil, tansy, garlic, tomatoes, catnip, and eucalyptus around your home and outdoor bird flights.
Mosquitoes dislike garlic, thus feeding your pets (dogs, cats, and birds) garlic on a daily basis is a smart idea. Put a few bits of fresh garlic in their dishes if they don’t consume it. Even if they don’t consume it, the fragrance will deter insects.
Garlic barrier is a repellant that consists of liquid garlic combined with water and is sprayed all over the garden. You may make it yourself or purchase it from here:
Citronella and neem oil are particularly powerful insect repellents. As a natural repellent, combine some coconut oil with a drop of neem and apply it to your skin. Citronella candles are also quite effective, but I wouldn’t use them inside since they might hurt your birds’ respiratory system.
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