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May 5, 2013
Thanks to a mild winter, mosquito populations are expected to reach record levels in our area this summer. Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance—they can also carry and transmit West Nile Virus. The US Centers for Disease Control reported 83 cases of West Nile including 9 deaths in Virginia, Maryland, and DC last year.
Starting this month, many counties and towns in our area are kicking off their seasonal mosquito eradication programs to reduce mosquito populations in public places, but it’s up to you to combat mosquitoes at home. Don’t let mosquitoes take over your yard this summer. Here are ten tips:
1. Drain or fill in any low places like puddles, ditches and ruts to prevent standing water from accumulating. Standing water is a mosquito’s favorite place to hang out and raise a family.
2. Cut your grass short and trim the shrubbery around the house. Overgrown grass and brush provide harborage areas for mosquitoes.
3. Keep drains, ditches, and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water will drain properly. Stagnant, standing water with plenty of weeds and debris is like a 5-star hotel to a mosquito.
4. Keep gutters clean and free of debris, leaves and stagnant water. Have you checked your gutters lately for debris? Just because stagnant water is up high doesn’t mean the mosquitoes won’t find it. Clean those gutters and invest in a gutter protection system to keep your gutters free of leaves, debris and ice year-round.
5. Keep trash containers dry. Any place that collects water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. Cover trash containers to keep out rain water, and drill holes in bottoms of trash containers so water can drain away.
6. Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets. The moisture from leaky pipes or faucets can create ideal mosquito conditions.
7. Make sure your backyard pool is maintained properly.
8. Remove any containers that may accumulate water including cans, buckets, drums and tires.
9. Use sand or concrete to fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water. Standing water combined with decaying plant matter makes an attractive spot for mosquitoes.
10. Change water in bird baths, kiddie pools, plant pots or drip trays at least once a week. It’s okay to have decorative or recreational water in your yard, but make sure you keep it fresh.