Take these steps to reduce mosquito populations

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Non-pesticide solutions exist

By David Harrison

Last week’s column covered some general aspects of mosquitoes, their development and general controls, especially larval control. Let’s review some practical, fairly simple, non-pesticide, environmentally friendly ways to reduce mosquito populations. Following the steps below will keep your property from becoming a prime mosquito breeding ground:

• Since used tires are a primary mosquito breeding area, remove all discarded tires.

• Dispose of outdoor, water-holding containers such as empty tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, plastic sheeting and the like. Don’t let water accumulate in flowerpot drainage saucers and pet dishes more than two days.

• Turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not using them.   

• Change water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week.

• Check around faucets, air conditioner units and condensation drains, cisterns, cesspools and septic tanks for water puddles that remain for several days. Eliminate these puddles and repair any leaks to prevent future water accumulations. 

• Consider stocking ornamental pools with mosquito fish. You can buy these predacious minnows, or seine them from creeks or streams.

• Many small fish will feed on mosquito larvae in ditches, ponds and similar locations. To enable fish to get to immature mosquitoes, control emerging vegetation and keep banks steep rather than having a gradual drop off.

• Standing water in roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season; so clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall, and periodically inspect gutters to be sure they properly drain.

• Remove standing water from patios, decks or flat roofs.

• Clean and disinfect swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Landscape gardens and lawns to prevent water accumulation. Irrigate them sufficiently for good growth, but not to the point that water stands for several days.

• To prevent water accumulation in tree holes or stumps remove, drain, or fill them with a sealant.