How to Avoid Pests on Your Runs
Unless you’ve got a dedicated jogging companion, you’d probably rather no one trail behind you while you’re running -- especially not pests. But as the weather warms and the outdoor recreation season begins for us humans, all sorts of other species are waking up as well.
If you’ve been walking, jogging or doing other outdoor exercise for any length of time, you’ve probably had the experience of being “followed” by flies. Maybe one’s even landed in your mouth, nose or eyes while you tried to swat it away. But flies might be the least of your worries -- they’re annoying, especially the biting kind -- but there are far more dangerous pests out there with the potential to upset your exercise routine.
A Living Obstacle Course
Mosquitoes are commonplace, but they’re considered the deadliest species to humans on Earth. They can carry viruses like Zika and West Nile, as well as malaria and Dengue fever. No less dangerous are ticks, which can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever.
Then you have reptiles -- snakes being the most obviously sinister. Especially if you’re jogging in the woods, you could have a venomous snake slithering beside you and not even know it.
Moving up to mammals, porcupines and skunks can also pose a serious threat -- especially if your dedicated exercise companion runs on four legs. Curious canines routinely get quilled by porcupines and sprayed by skunks.
Let’s Run Through Your Options
The most basic (and obvious) protection you should be taking whenever exercising outdoors is to wear insect repellent containing either DEET or picaridin, the latter of which is effective against a greater range of insects, including those harmless (but annoying) flies and gnats.
Ticks are easily avoided, if you know where they hide. Most of them will simply climb up a blade of grass, stretch its hook-like “arms” and wait to be picked up. The best solution is to simply avoid the grass and stick to pavement instead. If you are an avid trail-runner, the same DEET-containing repellant used against mosquitoes will do the trick — just make sure to spray your shoes and ankles.
If you’ll be walking or jogging through woodlands or wetlands where snakes could be an issue, first make sure to keep your ankles covered. Be aware that snakes tend to hide in plain sight, often sunbathing in the open or hunting in the grass. Either way, watch your footing and don’t ever assume that the “stick” is always a stick. Finally, always be on the lookout for snake safety warning signs erected by park services.
If you or your pet ever encounters a skunk, your best bet before it strikes is to turn and walk slowly and quietly away. If you or your pooch do happen to get sprayed by a skunk, a 1:2 solution of vinegar and water should get enough of the smell off to get you through the night.
Porcupines, however, are a whole other matter, and you’ll need the immediate care of a doctor or veterinarian should you be so unlucky as to have your pup get too close and suffer the consequences.
Exercise is a vital part of many healthy lifestyles, and we always encourage everyone to enjoy the great outdoors. We just want to help you do it as safely as possible.
We may not be able to follow you on your runs, but we’re always here to help keep pests away from your home. To learn more about our seasonal mosquito and tick treatment plan, give us a call today!