With spring comes rain, and with rain comes standing water. Unfortunately, that also leads to the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes which can lay eggs in even a bottle cap of water. With the outbreak of the Zika Virus in recent months, along with other diseases mosquitoes can carry such as Degnue fever, malaria, West Nile Virus, among others, it is important that residents take extra precautions when it comes to standing water.
Aedes aegypti and Ae. Albopictus species of mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in standing water and open containers near human residences and are known to be carriers of diseases. But there are steps residents can take to reduce breeding and proliferation of these pests.
First and foremost, it is important to tip over any open containers of water and store them inside so they will not continue gathering water. Items such as kids’ pools, cups, flower pots, vases, pet water bowls, buckets, pool covers, bird baths and even trash cans are prime spots for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs as they tend to prefer man-made containers. As a rule, if it can collect water, make sure you tip it over, scrub and dry out these items once a week.
Because eggs can survive even after being dried out for up to 8 months, it is important to also scrub items that have contained standing water as well. Once dried eggs are covered with water again, eggs can hatch and become adults within a week.
If it is possible, dry items and keep them inside after each use and store water in tightly sealed storage containers. This will ensure female mosquitoes aren’t even able to lay their eggs.
Practicing the safe disposal of organic waste and contamination such as human and animal waste, grasses and leaves will also help reduce the ability of mosquitoes to breed. Such organic waster provides food for mosquito larvae to eat, increasing their likelihood of survival. Keep in touch with your local sanitation department if you notice any leaks or unusual issues.
Other methods of reducing standing water can be more drastic, such as planting more trees to absorb more water from the ground in areas that don’t drain well and implementing better drainage systems for yards and paved areas.
The best preventative measures to take are to reduce standing water and open containers completely. When this isn’t possible, larvacides are available to put into the standing water, but be sure to follow the package directions.