Forget about snakes, sharks and crocodiles. There’s a bigger — and yet, significantly smaller — predator in town: the mosquito.
Many people consider mosquitoes to be a mere nuisance. But the blood-sucking insects are actually among the most lethal animals on the planet, responsible for millions of deaths each year from the diseases they carry. According to the World Health Organization:
In 2015 malaria alone caused 438,000 deaths. The worldwide incidence of dengue has risen 30-fold in the past 30 years, and more countries are reporting their first outbreaks of the disease. Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever are all transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
The health risk also appears to be growing in the U.S. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cases of disease linked to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have more than tripled in the country since 2004. The CDC attributed the rise to increased global travel and trade, environmental changes and a lack of prevention efforts.
Chances are, a mosquito bite or two won’t land you in the ICU. But at the very least, the itchy bites are sure to bug you. Here, we’ve identified seven smart and inexpensive ways to send those hungry pests packing.