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How to reduce mosquito breeding sites

Water management to prevent mosquito breeding is essential for effective control. Eggs do not hatch unless they are on or in water. Tires, in particular, require special mention because they are primarily breeding places for vector mosquitoes. Tires are often next to dwellings in close proximity to people. Locate standing water and eliminate if possible and practical.

Follow these steps:

• Remove tin cans, old tires, buckets, glass jars, broken toys and other water-holding containers.

• Change the water in bird baths and wading pools once a week.

• Clean out roof gutters so that water does not accumulate.

• Examine flat roofs after rains, making certain that no water remains more than one week.

• Place tight covers over cisterns, cesspools, septic tanks, fire barrels, rain barrels and tubs where water is stored.

• Do not over-apply lawn and garden irrigation, causing puddling in low areas.

• Fill tree holes with Treekote and mortar after draining.

• Drain or fill stagnant water pools, puddles and ditches of swampy areas around the home.

• Eliminate water-holding tree stumps and keep the grass mowed around ponds and other bodies of water, taking care to keep clippings out of water.

• Stock ponds and reservoirs with mosquito-eating fish such as green sunfish, bluegills, guppies or any surface-feeding minnow. The mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, is the most commonly used fish for mosquito control in the world. Also, predatory mosquitoes, Toxorhynchites spp, and mermithid nematodes have been used on an operational basis as biocontrol agents.

• Check the water in flower pots and other containers for mosquito larvae.

• Maintain farm ponds according to good management practices. Excessive amounts of emergent aquatic vegetation will shelter mosquitoes. In some cases, fish, such as the White Amur or Grass Carp, can be used to clear vegetation and reduce the mosquito breeding capacity of the pond. Stagnant ponds, which are highly septic, and waste lagoons can also produce large numbers of mosquitoes.

•Keep drainage ditches on property clean and flowing.

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