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Ouch! Help prevent mosquitoes from breeding

By Phil Rucker

Cooperative Extension,

Davie County Center

We all love the warmer weather but with that warm weather, mosquito activity increases.

All the moisture we have received lately could increase the mosquito activity.  Before people start planning a chemical assault on the biting menaces, they can put a reasonable dent in populations simply by using simple tips to reduce breeding grounds around your home or barn. Most common mosquito pests take advantage of water-filled objects as breeding sites. So, if you have not already done this, search for and correct problems before those pesky little varmints become unwelcomed guests the next time you are outdoors.

It is important to do a “Yard and Barn Check” to identify and eliminate places where mosquitoes will breed and grow. Mosquitoes must have standing water to breed. Eliminating standing water sources can drastically reduce mosquito populations. Empty buckets, tires, dishes under potted plants, tarps covering boats, and other water-collecting items need to be emptied, inverted, or discarded.

Birdbaths make great observation posts for watching mosquito larvae and alert you to an impending invasion. Don’t rush out and start adding chemicals. Simply flush out the birdbath often. Same thing applies to outdoor pet water bowls.Livestock water troughs out in pastures can be a little tougher since they’re not always as easily flushed out.

Get out the ladder and unclog those rain gutters.  Decaying leaf material and other debris actually attract mosquitoes. Make sure that downspouts direct the water away from the house and not simply create a big puddle. Rain barrels that collect runoff, need to have the openings screened. This helps keep out the junk and the mosquitoes out as well.

Use a good insect repellent on yourself and your horse to reduce the potential of a mosquito bite. Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts when the potential for a mosquito attack is high.  Avoid activities when mosquitoes are most active, such as early morning and dusk.

Talk with your neighbors as mosquito control takes a community effort. Even though you work hard to control mosquitoes, if your neighbors don’t, then their mosquitoes might decide to pay you a visit sometime.

During warm damp weather, the potential for an increase in the mosquito population is high.  Take action now to reduce the potential in your yard, barn and surrounding area.

For more information on mosquito control, contact the NC Cooperative Extension Service, Davie County Center at 336-753-6100.