Mosquito control can be divided into two areas of responsibility - individual and public. Public spraying to control mosquitoes is just one of many pest control methods used for effective long-term mosquito control. The reduction, elimination, or treatment of mosquito breeding areas is the best and most cost-effective technique for mosquito control. The most important things you and the citizens of your community can do to reduce the risk of exposure to the West Nile Virus are to eliminate mosquito-breeding areas in your environment and limit your exposure to feeding mosquitoes. Many female mosquitoes can lay 100 to 300 eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water every third night during its life span.
Here are some simple things you can do to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites in your environment:
- Do not allow water to accumulate in:
- Saucers of flowerpots
- Kiddie pools
- Tin cans
- In pet dishes for more than 2 days
- Consistently check areas that collect water and drain them.
- Get rid of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused kiddie pools, or other containers that collect and hold water.
- Clean debris from rain gutters, remove standing water from flat roofs, and repair leaks around faucets and air conditioners.
- Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least every 3 to 4 days.
- Fill or drain puddles, ditches, and swampy areas.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs.
- Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats or pools, and arrange the tarp to drain the water.
- If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for a week or longer, report this problem to your town or city.
- Clean out livestock water troughs on a weekly basis or stock them with the mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, which feed on mosquito larvae in the water.
- If you are unable to drain an area with standing water, such as an abandoned swimming pool, animal watering troughs, or small, shallow ponds, consider the use of a larvicide product with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI). These products are known as mosquito "dunks" or "donuts," and the BTI bacteria kill mosquito larvae, but will not harm plants or animals. Follow all product information for safe handling and use.
- Be a good neighbor: help those who are unable to drain standing water on their property, to eliminate breeding sites in your neighborhood.