Prevent Mosquitoes and Stay Healthy during Spring & Summer
Itching to add some water features to your backyard landscaping this summer? Ponds and bird baths can inject some pizzazz into your surroundings, but they can also attract mosquitoes if you don't take the right steps to keep them from calling your yard home and causing some potentially serious health problems.
More than just a nuisance
Most of the time, mosquitoes are not much more than the cause of itchy welts and minor discomfort, but they can also cause serious illness. Prevalent throughout the United States, they can cause several types of disease, including West Nile Virus, perhaps the most common mosquito-borne illness in the U.S.
Typically surfacing in late summer and early fall, West Nile is caused by mosquitoes feeding on infected birds, and then passing the virus to humans and other animals through the saliva they inject with their bites. Traveling through the bloodstream to the brain, the virus interferes with the central nervous system and causes swelling of the brain tissue. For most people, the illness is mild and causes fever, headache, and fatigue. In more severe cases however, encephalitis, meningitis, paralysis, or even death can occur. For those with even just a mild case, it can take several months to recover.
Trusty Mosquito Control Tips
Mosquitoes are small, but persistent. Luckily, a combination of maintenance and protection can keep them under control. Although it is common practice to spray for mosquitoes, spraying pest control materials is not the most effective means of controlling a mosquito outbreak. It is far more effective to prevent them from breeding in the first place. Mosquitoes lay hundreds of eggs at a time and gestation only takes about seven days.
Eliminate standing water. Water is a mosquito breeding ground, and certain species like the Asian tiger mosquito breed in very small amounts of it.
Do not allow water to accumulate and sit in flower pots or pet dishes for more than two days at a time.
Clean out your bird baths at least once a week. In NY, some homeowners are being issued summonses for leaving standing water in their yards!
Introduce mosquito-eating fish to your decorative pond or pool.
Drain or fill tree holes or stumps with mortar: This will keep water from collecting.
Eliminate harborage: Cut down weeds that run adjacent to your home's foundation and mow your lawn often.
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