You may have noticed an increase in mosquitoes after the recent rains. Mosquitoes are not only a pest but they carry dangerous diseases such as Zika and West Nile Virus. According to WestNile.ca.gov, there were 554 human cases of West Nile Virus in California last year, of which 44 were fatal. As West Nile Virus has no vaccine and no treatment, it is important to prevent contracting it. The young and elderly are most susceptible to West Nile Virus and many of the other diseases carried by mosquitoes.
While pesticides are available and sometimes necessary, easiest, cheapest, and most natural way to get rid of mosquitoes is to prevent them from breeding and living around your home.
Removing standing water is the easiest way to prevent mosquitoes. Water is where mosquitoes lay eggs, eggs hatch, and larva grow into adult mosquitoes. Some common areas where you might find standing water include rain gutters and buckets or containers such as flower pots. It doesn’t take a large amount of water for mosquitoes to breed, so be sure to check for water pooled in landscaped areas, yard decorations, outdoor furniture, toys, etc.
You can also make your property less habitable by trimming back landscaping and reducing cool areas for mosquitos to rest during the day. Mosquitos spend most of the day in the shade and out of the breeze, so pruning trees to create more air flow, trimming hedges tighter, and cutting back overhanging vines and branches will all help reduce the ability for mosquitos to live near your home.
Stay indoors during the mosquitoes' active hours and use a repellent.
It is wise to stay inside around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and feeding. Some mosquitoes do feed during the day and wearing a mosquito repellent and proper clothing is your best protection when going outside to garden or enjoy your yard. This guide to insect repellents from the California Department of Public Health can help you pick and effective repellent and use it correctly.
Enjoy your yard this spring by taking a few minutes to check your property for standing water, reducing cool shady areas, and protecting yourself from mosquitoes!