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Along with the joys of summertime outdoor activities comes the not-so-joyful likelihood of encountering mosquitoes.
While we cannot control the entire outdoors, there are control measures you can take around your home, farm and business to eliminate potential breeding sites that provide the quiet, non-flowing water these bothersome pests need to develop.
You can decrease mosquito populations by depriving them of places to breed. However, eliminating these sites often is easier said than done, because these locations are not always obvious.
A neglected bird bath, clogged rain gutter or boat bottom allowed to accumulate water can produce hundreds of new mosquitoes daily.
Following the steps below will keep your property from becoming a prime mosquito breeding ground:
• Remove all discarded tires. Used tires are a primary mosquito breeding area.
• Dispose of outdoor water-holding containers such as empty tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, plastic sheeting and the like. Do not let water accumulate in flower pot drainage saucers and pet dishes more than two days.
• Turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not using them.
• Change water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week.
• Check around faucets, air conditioner units and condensation drains, cisterns, cesspools and septic tanks for water puddles that remain for several days. Eliminate these puddles and repair any leaks to prevent future water accumulations.
• Many small fish will feed on mosquito larvae in ditches, ponds and similar locations. To enable fish access to immature mosquitoes, control emerging vegetation and keep banks steep rather than having a gradual drop off.
• Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall, and periodically inspect gutters to be sure they properly drain. Standing water in roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
• Remove standing water from patios, decks or flat roofs.
• Clean and disinfect swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
• Landscape gardens and lawns to prevent water accumulation. Irrigate them sufficiently for good growth, but not to the point that water stands for several days.
• Tremendous numbers of mosquitoes can breed in shallow, marshy or swampy locations, ditches, and other low areas. On farms, these pests can develop in standing water in hoof prints around watering troughs, seepage areas and similar locations. Draining or filling up these areas is an effective long-term solution. If it is not possible to eliminate standing water in all these situations, consider using a mosquito-specific larvicide (insecticide to control immature mosquitoes).
Larvicides contain the active ingredient Methoprene (an insect growth regulator) or the bacterial toxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis.
The easy-to-apply products come in water-soluble granules, pellets or briquettes, and usually are available from farm supply stores, pesticide dealers, or the Internet.
For more information on mosquito control, contact the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 732-7030.
Dates of interest:
June 20:4-H Shooting Sports Club Practice, 6:30 p.m., Three Rivers Gun Range, 3041 Hwy. 55, Carrollton.
June 26:County Extension Council Meeting, 6 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.
June 29:Meet and Greet with the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, 3-4 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.
Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.