One of the best ways to minimize risk of mosquitos is to take action in and around your home to eliminate habitat for the mosquitos that carry the virus.
• Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers in and around your yard that may hold water. Mosquitos that carry the virus live near and lay eggs in these types of containers.
• Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers to more effectively drain any standing water.
• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
• Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Fish eat mosquito eggs and larvae.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.
If you do have stagnant pools of water on your property, you can buy BTI products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. Used properly, this naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larva but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
Additionally, these simple precautions can prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:
• Make sure screens on windows and doors fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
• Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
• When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
• Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months. West Nile Information