By Amanda Sears
MADISON COUNTY —
With the moist summer we’ve had in Kentucky, mosquitoes have had a prime environment to flourish and become a prevalent pest. It’s important to know where mosquitoes breed and what you can do to reduce their numbers in and around your home and to protect yourself from bites.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for managing mosquitoes. Countless products on the market claim to be effective and easy to use, but few have appreciable value in lessening the annoyance and incidence of bites. There are limits to what we can do to minimize their abundance, but employing a few easy techniques can give you a little relief.
The most effective way to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home 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.
Regardless of recent weather patterns – wet, dry, warm or cool – there are plenty of potential places in which mosquitoes can develop. A neglected bird bath, swimming pool or clogged rain gutter can produce hundreds of new mosquitoes in a just a few days. Trees uprooted by storms leave soil depressions that collect seepage and rainwater. Large areas of standing water, such as from swamps, sluggishly moving streams or ditches may require efforts beyond those of individual property owners.
However, there are effective steps you can take to minimize mosquito breeding on your property:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Fill or drain ditches and swampy areas and other soil depressions. 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.
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