The Everyday Home: Get ready for mosquitos!

Sonya McDaniel, extension educator, FCS/CED
Pottawatomie County Extension Service

A drawback from all the rain this spring are the moist, hot temps coming this summer. This combination is exactly what these critter love. Even with cooler temperatures we were swatting mosquitos at our Memorial Day cookout. And numbers will rise as we head into higher temps. Here are some tips for keeping your backyard a mosquito free zone!

The most effective way to reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and neighborhoods is to find and eliminate their breeding sites - standing water. Adults of some mosquito species remain near their breeding site. Others can travel long distances, even up to several miles. Because of this, problem mosquitoes may come from breeding sites some distance away.

However, there are effective steps that individuals can take to minimize mosquito breeding on their property:

Dispose of old tires, buckets, aluminum cans, plastic sheeting or other refuse that can hold water. Empty accumulated water from trash cans, boats, wheel barrows, pet dishes, and flower pot bottoms. If possible, turn these items over when they are not in use.

Clean debris from rain gutters and unclog obstructed downspouts. Clogged rain gutters are one of the most overlooked breeding sites for mosquitoes around homes. Remove any standing water on flat roofs or around structures. Repair leaking faucets and air conditioners that produce puddles for several days.

Change water in bird baths and wading pools at least once a week and keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated. Ornamental pools can be aerated or stocked with mosquito-eating fish. Aeration / water movement helps because mosquitoes prefer quiet, non-flowing water for egg-laying and development.

Fill or drain ditches and swampy areas, and other soil depressions and remove, drain, or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar or sealant to prevent accumulation of water. Eliminate standing water and seepage around animal watering troughs, cisterns, and septic tanks. Be sure that cistern screens are intact and that access covers fit tightly.

Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.

Source:  http://www2.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef005.asp

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