Mosquitoes are, quite simply, a disease carrying nuisance. Malaria, West Nile Virus, and Yellow Fever are just a few of the diseases that one little mosquito can carry around with it. Many of the multiple afflictions that can be passed to you from one of these irritating bugs are rare in certain geographic locations; however, it is only a matter of time before they spread outside of their normal boundaries. This year, in particular, there is a great fear of mosquitoes with the recent outbreak of the Zika Virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
So what is the easiest way to keep these pesky little bugs away from your home to protect yourself and your family? Well…there is no magical answer, and the unfortunate truth is you will never be able to get rid of them all. The best approach is to focus on eliminating possible breeding sites and create an uninhabitable environment.
The most important thing to do is complete a thorough inspection of your home – inside and out.
Before heading outside for your inspection, check all of your doors and windows to ensure there are no gaps around the edges or holes in the screens. Make sure all of the screens fit tightly into place. Any tiny gap is a possible entrance for insects. Mosquitoes will sneak into your house the first chance they get, so make sure to always keep your screens in place. Once a week thoroughly clean any items that hold water, such as vases and flowerpot saucers. Any area with standing water is a possible haven for mosquitoes. If you already have one too many mosquitoes in the house, try using a flying insect fogger or indoor insect spray.
Once outside, the inspection should get a little more thorough. Removing any areas with stagnant water is top priority. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Even an inch of water is enough for a female mosquito to lay eggs in. Below is a list of obvious and not so obvious places that could potentially hold water, check these areas frequently and take any necessary steps to avoid the collection of water.
Tarps. (Any kind of nylon or plastic cover that can sag and collect water will become a breeding ground for these nasty little insects.)
Toys. (Frisbees, toy trucks, tire swings, etc. Check anything that can hold water. Make sure the kids put their toys away.)
Holes in trees. (What? Holes in trees? Yes! Consult a landscaping professional if you have water that collects in these areas.)
Yard equipment. (Wheelbarrows, empty flowerpots, buckets, and even shovels. Remember they just need one inch of water to lay their eggs!)
Bird baths and kid’s pools. (These are two of the more obvious places that water can collect, since their sole purpose is to hold water. Clean them regularly and turn them over when they are not being used.
Puddles. (If you have low spots in your yard or driveway, they will collect water. Consider filling in the low spots, changing your landscaping, or installing proper drainage pipes.)
Rain gutters. (Clean your gutters out regularly to keep them from backing up and collecting water.)
Now that you have taken the necessary steps to keep mosquitoes from breeding on your property, it is time to sit back and relax. It is still a good idea to apply a mosquito repellent before spending a lot of time outside. You can never be too careful! But rest easy knowing no bloodsucking insect will ruin your summer fun!!