Thanks to significantly soggy weather in the Great Plains and Midwest, mosquito populations in those areas are predicted to soar. Wet weather give mosquitoes plenty of the water they need to thrive and creates numerous opportunities for them to breed. Due to the serious diseases mosquitoes can carry and the annoyance of discomfort from their bites, it’s important to understand how to help deter them from biting you and how to make your home less hospitable to them.
Remember, mosquitoes need water to survive and re-populate. As a result, the key to controlling mosquitoes around your home is eliminating all areas (and potential areas) of standing water on and around your property. Be aware of all areas that could welcome the insects such as puddles or ruts, pets’ water dishes, toys such as small buckets or watering cans, and bird baths or feeders. Mosquito eggs laid in standing water hatch in just a day or two while eggs without a source of water may remain unhatched for weeks or even months.
Use this checklist to prevent mosquitoes around your home:
- Remove old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles or any water holding containers
- Fill in or drain any low places (e.g., puddles, ruts) in your yard
- Keep drains, ditches and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water will drain properly
- Cover trash containers to keep out rain water
- Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets
- If you have a plastic wading pool, empty it at least once a week and store it indoors when not in use
- While on vacation, make sure your backyard pool is properly cared for
- Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete
- Change the water in bird baths , pets’ bowls, plant pots or drip trays at least once each week
- Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed around the house so adult mosquitoes will not hide there
- Properly screen windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from coming into the house and biting you, your family and your pets
Personal mosquito repellents are also important tools you can use to protect yourself. Repellents are available in various convenient forms such as sprays, lotions and wipes. Regardless of what repellent you choose, be careful to always read and follow the directions to ensure safe use.
Do the mosquitoes seem worse in your area this year? Are there any products or practices you have found to be particularly effective in controlling the pests?