Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Staff report

Most of the time mosquitoes only are annoying; however, they also can carry disease.Virginians need to eliminate mosquito breeding places to not only reduce the chance of being bitten, but also for health reasons. Here are some suggestions:

Dispose of cans, bottles, and plastic containers. Store items to be recycled in covered trash cans or sealed bags.

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Eliminate discarded tires. Drill drainage holes in tires used for playground equipment.

Clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly, eliminating standing water on flat roofs.

Turn over plastic wading pools, and wheelbarrows.

Do not leave garbage can lids upside down. Do not allow water to collect in the bottom of garbage cans.

Flush birdbaths and potted plants saucers and trays twice a week.

Adjust tarps over grills, firewood piles, boats, and swimming pools to eliminate standing water.

Re-grade drainage areas and clean debris out of ditches to eliminate standing water in low spots.

Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, Aerate garden pools.

Fix dripping water faucets, and eliminate puddles from under air conditioners.

Store pet food and water bowls indoors when not in use.

To protect yourself, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, stay indoors at dawn and from dusk through the early evening, and use fine-mesh screens on windows and doors.

If you decide to use an insect repellent, follow the label directions and precautions, Paulson said. These can be very effective and can be used safely. Properly used, DEET Products are nearly 100 percent effective. Citronella products are 60 percent to 70 percent effective..

State health officials are being cautious about identifying the mosquitoes that carry diseases that are transmitted to humans and animals, but everyone can take care of their own backyard.

For more information contact Sally Paulson, Associate Professor, Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech, 540-231-8035 or email at spaulson@vt,edu Mary Ann Johnson, Agriculture and Extension Communications at Virginia tech, 540-231-69975.