Help stop mosquito populations

Published 9:10 am Friday, May 15, 2015

By Phil Rucker

Extension Agent

Davie County

Increased mosquito activity is here.

Before people start planning their chemical assault on the biting menaces, they can put a reasonable dent in populations simply by some simple tips to reduce mosquito breeding around your home. Our most common mosquito pest is the Asian tiger mosquito which takes advantage of water-filled objects as breeding sites.

Now is a good time to correct problems before you start hearing that familiar buzz of mosquitoes in your ear when you’re sitting outdoors in the evening.

• Empty or (preferably) get rid of those objects that collect water – old cans, tires, and trash cans missing their lids.

• Put fresh water in bird baths and pet water bowls (both will be grateful for the new water).

• The purpose of rain gutters is to collect water, not pine needles, leaves, and other debris. Remove debris from gutters and make sure water runs freely through them. And make sure rainwater doesn’t just splash and pool at the end at downspout. Make sure it drains out into your yard

• Likewise, drainage ditches in front of your property are not meant to become mosquito swimming pools. Clear them of debris and vegetation so that they don’t impound water and let it stagnate.

• If you’re going to collect rainwater to save for watering gardens, make sure you have a screen over the top to keep out debris and mosquitoes that are hunting for a good playing to lay eggs.

Pass along these suggestions to neighbors because mosquito control takes a community effort to succeed. Find these details and more information about mosquito control on the website:, or call the NC Cooperative Extension, Davie County Center at 753-6100.

When you go outside, you still need to utilize personal protection.

Aside from DEET, there are some new EPA-approved repellents products that contain the active ingredients picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Even these products have limits and some restrictions on use on small children. In particular with small children, stick with the lower concentrations (around 10-20%) of DEET.  We also discourage the practice of letting very young children douse themselves with the repellents and don’t simply spray children with the chemical because they’re more likely to be inhaling it. Spray some of the chemical on your hands and then apply it to the child’s arms, legs and neck (not the face). Don’t apply repellent to the children’s hands as they’re likely to stick them in their mouths or eyes.

Mosquitoes attack animals like livestock and pets. Keep areas around our animal friends as dry as possible, remove spilled feed and feces and empty anything that might hold stagnant water. Talk with your veterinarian about vaccinating your horse for numerous diseases that can be carried by mosquitoes as well as approved products to reduce mosquito invasions around your pets and livestock.

Mosquitoes are looking for a place to call home and get a free meal.  Take the time to look over your yard, pastures, barn and pet areas for places where mosquitoes would love to put down roots and move in. Now is the time to take control and clean up, remove mosquito habitats before they move in.

For questions or more information, contact the NC Cooperative Extension in Davie County at 753-6100.