BUREAU OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
VECTOR CONTROL PROGRAM MOSQUITOES
Mosquitoes can transmit many illnesses to humans. However, in the United States, mosquito-borne diseases are limited to:
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- St. Louis Encephalitis
- West Nile Encephalitis
The most common, St. Louis Encephalitis, occurs on an average of 200 cases annually. Symptoms of these diseases range from the less serious, such as: fever, headache and drowsiness, to brain inflammation and meningitis. The symptoms can be more severe in the elderly, infants, and immuno-compromised people. Mosquito abatement and control plays an important role in limiting the occurrence of mosquito-borne disease.
Mosquito breeding season is from May through October. Since these insects need water to complete their life cycle, they are most active in and around stagnant water. Department of Health and Human Services' staff provides mosquito surveillance on a weekly basis by monitoring potential breeding sites for mosquito habitation such as ditches, canals, ponds, and neighborhood gutters. Once mosquito habitation is identified, staff applies appropriate control measures.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PREVENT INFESTATION:
- Change pet water bowls
- Clean clogged roof gutters once a year
- Clean or chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used
- Dispose of tin cans, discarded tires, plastic containers
- Drain or fill low spots in the ground
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers to prevent moisture from collecting
- Eliminate standing water
HOW TO KEEP MOSQUITOES OUT OF RAIN BARRELS
Rain barrels are great at capturing rainwater. However, if not maintained properly, your water conservation efforts can come back to bite you!
One of the most common problems with rain barrels is mosquito breeding. Did you know thousands of mosquitoes can emerge from standing water in a rain barrel?
Here are a few tips to help you keep those pesky, disease-transmitting insects far away from your rain barrel.
Cover the Barrel
• Use a fine mesh, wire screen to keep mosquitoes from laying their eggs. Also, don’t forget to cover the downspout that connects to the roof gutter. Mosquitoes can readily enter the downspout into your barrel. Yes, they’re that sneaky!
• You can purchase the screens with the barrels or separately at hardware/gardening stores
Empty Barrels Regularly
• Your plants are thirsty! Use up all your water and empty out your barrel once a week to keep water from becoming stagnant.
• Even with overflow valves and spigots, some water can be left at the bottom of the barrel. Make sure to empty the barrel completely because mosquitoes don’t need much water to breed.
Use Bacterial Larvicides
• Purchase a product like “Mosquito Dunks” and use them to kill off those pesky mosquito larvae. (Many kids assume the larvae are frog tadpoles, but they’re not!)
• These larvicides specially target mosquito larvae and do not cause harm to pets, fish or humans (when used in accordance to the label instructions).