Summer is here and as more people make their way outside for activities, Coastal Health District officials want to remind residents to take precautions to avoid mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are annoying but can also carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, chikungunya, or Zika Virus.
The best way to protect ourselves from mosquitoes is to prevent them from breeding. One of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around the home and in the yard. Mosquitoes lay eggs in water; just a bottle cap of water is all they need.
After every rainfall – or at least once a week – tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets and anything else around your yard that can hold water. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out.
- Clean out gutters.
- Remove piles of leaves.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- Keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes.
- For containers without lids or that are too big to Tip ‘n Toss (bird baths, garden pools), use larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes and follow the label instructions. Larvicides will not hurt birds or animals.
- Homeowners associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, are encouraged to sponsor community cleanup days.
- Make sure to keep doors shut and cover windows with screens. Repair or replace any screens with holes in them.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus when outdoors. Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants and socks to help prevent mosquito bites.