Simple strategies to help control mosquitoes

Nikki Bell

Mosquitos can ruin outdoor activities in the warmer months. It may seem like a never-ending battle when you're fighting to control the pesky insects. With mosquito-borne diseases becoming more prevalent, it's even more important to know how to take control of these pests around your home. Learning to do a few simple things could help protect you from more than the itchiness of a mosquito bite.

All mosquitos need standing water to develop through their larval stages, and that doesn't necessarily mean a lake or pond. It also includes bird baths, kiddie pools and even discarded soda pop cans. The key to controlling them around your home is to stop them from breeding in the first place.

Some things you can do include:

• Drain and remove trash, bottles and any debris that holds water.

• Recycle any unused containers that could collect water, especially old tires.

• Change water weekly in bird baths, wading pools, watering troughs and animal bowls.

• Fill in holes, depressions and puddles in your yard.

• Make sure your culverts and ditches are draining properly.

• Check and clean out clogged gutters to ensure drainage.

• Keep ornamental ponds stocked with fish.

• Fix leaky hoses and faucets.

• Drain water from flowerpots and garden containers.

• Turn over wheelbarrows, buckets and other items that collect water.

• Adjust tarps covering woodpiles, boats and grills to remove standing water.

• Encourage natural enemies of mosquitoes, such as warblers, swallows, martins and other insect-feeding birds.

It's a good idea to start these practices early in the season. Just because the mosquitoes aren't biting yet, it doesn't mean that they're not developing.

For more information about mosquitoes, contact the Marshall Cooperative Extension Service.

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