According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2004 there were 27,388 reported cases of insect borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile virus, Zika virus and others. In 2016, that number increased significantly, topping 96,000 cases, though that number only reflects those cases that were reported.
Wearing bug repellent is a must to ward off disease-ridden pests, but there is still more you can do to lessen your risk of being bit, including making the following changes to your outdoor design:
1. Rake all leaves and remove them from the yard.
2. Mow your lawn often.
3. Trim grasses and brush around your house and the edges of your lawn.
4. Line a 3-foot-wide barrier with woodchips or gravel between your lawn and wooded areas.
5. Stack wood and keep it in a dry place.
6. Set up playground equipment, decks and patios away from the edges of your yard and the tree line.
7. Put up a fence to keep wild animals away from your yard.
8. Keep your yard free of trash and debris.