TIPS ON MOSQUITO PREVENTION
STOP THE BITE!
Homeowners can take the following steps to prevent mosquito breeding on their own property:
- Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than 2 days.
- Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.
- Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and either remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar. These areas may be treated with Bti or methoprene products also.
- Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks.
- Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.
- Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, etc. Arrange the tarp to drain the water.
- Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading prevent drainage problems.
- Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
- If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes. Report such conditions to a Mosquito Control or Public Health Office. Do not attempt to clear these ditches because they may be protected by wetland regulations.
Substances that make a mosquito avoid biting people. Persons working or playing in mosquito-infested areas will find repellents very helpful in preventing mosquito bites. Repellents are formulated and sold as aerosols, creams, solids (sticks) and liquids. Use repellents containing ingredients such as diethyl phthalate, diethyl carbate, N, N-Diethyl-3-Methylbenzamide (DEET), and ethyl hexanediol. For more than 40 years, DEET has been the standard in mosquito repellents. Check the label for these active ingredients. Permethrin-containing repellents (Permanone) are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bednets and camping gear. Permethrin is highly effective as an insecticide/acaricide and as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes and other arthropods and retains this effect even after repeated laundering. Permethrin-treated clothing should be safe when label directions are followed. Permethrin repellents do not offer any protection from mosquitoes when applied to the skin. It is often helpful to use spray repellents on outer clothing as well as the skin. Protection generally may be expected up to 6 hours following application.
Oil of citronella is another type of mosquito repellent for space repelling. Oil of citronella is the active ingredient in many of the candles, torches, or coils that may be burned to produce a smoke that repels mosquitoes. These are useful outdoors only under windless conditions. Their effectiveness is somewhat less than repellents applied to the body or clothing.
Here are some common sense rules to follow when using repellents
- Wear long sleeve shirts and pants outdoors during peak mosquito activity time periods.
- Apply repellent sparingly only to exposed skin or clothing.
- Keep repellents away from eyes, nostrils and lips: do not inhale or ingest repellents or get them into the eyes.
- Avoid applying high-concentration (>30% DEET) products to the skin, particularly of children.
- Avoid applying repellents to portions of children's hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth.
- Pregnant and nursing women should minimize use of repellents.
- Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin.
- Use repellent sparingly; one application will last approximately 4-6 hours. Saturation does not increase efficacy.
- Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
- If a suspected reaction to insect repellents occurs, wash treated skin, and call a physician. Take the repellent container to the physician.
Q. How does this program work?
A. The populated areas of the county are separated into 9 zones, and are sprayed with a mosquito pesticide once to two times per week. Rural areas are surveyed upon request and receive an initial courtesy larvicide with mosquito pellets that reduce the population up to 150 days. The requesting party is educated on reducing their mosquito population via commercial purchase, and other methods prescribed by the state board of health.
Q. What is larvicide?
A. The larvicide pellets used by Calhoun County are effective in that once the mosquito larvae are exposed to them they do not mature into a flying mosquito, but die of old age in larvae state. No wings, no fly, no bite!
Q. How effective is spraying?
A. Spraying is designed for contact kill only. This means what ever is in the air at the time of spraying will die. It will not kill anything after the fact. This is combination with resident education on prevention has proven to be a significant help in reducing the mosquito population.
Q. Will spraying hurt my roadside flowers, garden or my animals?
A. The pesticide spray that the county utilizes and how its dispersed only effects flying insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies, gnats, bees, etc.
Q. Are mosquito control personnel trained on how to dispense the pesticides?
A. Yes, they receive on the job training, and formal training when available regarding subjects like pesticide application, pesticide identification, proper application utilizing a mosquito sprayer, etc.
Q. I have a bee farm; will the pesticide used by the county affect my hives?
A. Yes, through cooperation with the extension office all attempts have been made to contact bee farmers so that there locations can be designated a "NO SPRAY ZONE". If anyone has knowledge of bee farms that are not known to this office please contact 256-241-2942 to receive an information packet.