Property maintenance prevents mosquitoes

Published 6:30 pm Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mosquitoes have been among the banes of mankind for thousands of years.

The pests bite humans, mammals and birds, cause irritating wounds and generally provide a source of annoyance for everyone and everything that spends time outdoors.

Worse, they can transmit a number of diseases, which can be dangerous and even deadly for humans and horses.

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Here in Suffolk, mosquitoes have a tendency to be more of a pest because of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, where the insects have thousands of acres on which to breed uninterrupted by any sort of control mechanism.

Fortunately, the city has a team of employees dedicated to attempting to control the insects and warning the public about outbreaks of mosquito-borne illness. But there are many ways the general public can help control mosquitoes, also.

In the swamp and in some other locations throughout the city, it is inevitable that mosquitoes will breed. But in the vast majority of places where they lay their eggs — discarded tires, empty flower pots, poorly maintained bird baths and other containers filled with rainwater — residents can help prevent mosquito proliferation, and therefore disease, simply by keeping their property tidy and clean.

The two most common diseases in this area, West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, can be life-altering or even deadly for those stricken with them. Therefore, any control measure that helps keep the mosquito populations down is worthwhile.

Property owners in the city should make mosquito control a regular part of their maintenance routine. Empty water-holding containers, including drums, bottles, tin cans, wheelbarrows and potted plant trays; clear roof gutters and downspouts; clean wading pools, swimming pools and birdbaths; drain water from tarps; and most of all, dispose of tires properly. For areas of water collection that cannot be prevented, like ditches, pick up Mosquito Dunks at your local fire station and use them regularly.

Every mosquito killed is one fewer pest in our city.