National Mosquito Control Awareness Week
Published 1:48 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023
They’re incredibly annoying. They bite. They ruin barbecues, picnics and almost any outdoor activity. Of course, we’re talking about mosquitoes! With all the rain we’ve had during the last few weeks, we may see a big increase in mosquitoes. But we can take action!
The West Central Health District is urging residents to clean up their yards and their communities and discard any unnecessary items that can hold water. That’s one way to reduce the number of mosquitoes and prevent the spread of viruses carried by these insects. “Controlling the numbers of mosquitoes in our communities has to be a joint effort among neighbors,” said Kristi Ludy, District Environmental Health Director. “We perform mosquito surveillance throughout the summer months, but the greatest impact is when individuals take personal responsibility for their homes and yards. Mosquitoes don’t recognize property lines.”
Here are some ways to control mosquitoes:
- After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys and wading pools, and buckets. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. Look for small bodies of water such as empty garbage cans and lids, tree stumps and tire ruts.
- Clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can breed in small amounts of water like what’s in a bottle cap or overturned leaf.
- For containers without lids or that are too big to toss, like bird baths or garden pools, use larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes and follow the label instructions. Larvicides will not hurt birds or animals.
- Install new or repair existing window and door screens.
Homeowner’s associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, are encouraged to sponsor community cleanup days.
The diseases that can infect humans include malaria, dengue virus, Zika, and West Nile virus. So, it’s important to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants, and socks to help prevent mosquito bites. Treat clothing with permethrin, but do not use directly on skin. Citronella, lavender, peppermint, and marigolds are just some plants you can keep in your yard to help keep mosquitoes away.
Mosquitoes can also transmit several diseases and parasites to dogs and horses, including dog heartworms and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Be sure to keep dogs on a heartworm preventative medicine, and horses can be vaccinated to prevent EEE.
For more information on how to fight the bite, visit www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes.