The Zika virus has not been found in mosquitoes in the U.S., but we strongly recommend training ourselves to be more aggressive on mosquito control.
The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedesspecies mosquito. These are the same mosquitoes that spread Dengue and Chikungunya These mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases. (CDC)
Mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, dengue, and Zika are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. (CDC)
Mosquitoes breed when it’s 50+ degrees for more than a day or two, and can breed in as little as a bottle cap full of water.
The Squad experts have developed specific protocols to follow alongside homeowners, to help manage and eliminate mosquitoes. I can share these tips with you (expand on tips listed below). We can all benefit from paying more attention and taking measures to manage and eliminate mosquitoes.
The CDC says to remove standing water in outdoor spaces, but the majority of homeowners don’t always walk their entire yard to find standing water—especially small amounts that can “hide” in plain sight. We have found that homeowners typically don’t take the time to check downspouts, kid’s playsets accessories, dog bowls and other “offenders” for standing water. A quick walk around can take care of many problem areas.
Based on more than 10 years’ experience treating hundreds of thousands of yards, Mosquito Squad recommends that homeowners walk their yards several times a week and take action to reduce mosquito breeding:
TIP over anything that holds or collects water. A bottle cap filled with water holds enough water for mosquitoes to breed. Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, the elimination of standing water decreases a mosquito’s breeding ground. Squad technicians report that yards with bird baths, play sets with tire swings, tree houses, portable fireplaces and pits and catch basins are the biggest offenders.
TOSS any yard trash including clippings, leaves and twigs. Even the smallest items can provide a haven for mosquitoes and increase the population.
TURN over items that could hold water and trash. Look for children’s portable sandboxes, slides or plastic toys; underneath and around downspouts; in plant saucers, empty pots, light fixtures and dog water bowls. Eliminate these items or keep them turned over until used.
REMOVE TARPS that can catch water.Many homeowners have tarps or covers on items residing in their outdoor spaces. If not stretched taut, they are holding water. Check tarps over firewood piles, portable fire places, recycling cans, boats, sports equipment and grills. Use bungee cords to secure tarps in the yard.
TAKE CARE of your home. Proper maintenance can be a deciding factor in property values and mosquito bites. Regularly clean out gutters and make sure the downspout is attached properly. Re-grading areas where water stands more than a few hours, and to regularly check irrigation systems to ensure that they aren’t leaking and causing a breeding haven. Keep lawn height low and areas weed-free.
TEAM UP. Despite taking all precautions in your own home, talking with neighbors is a key component to mosquito and tick control. Townhomes and homes with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor’s home, and affect your property.
TREAT. Utilize a mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body.