How to reduce mosquito habitats

Mosquitoes that carry disease can reproduce in less than two weeks in small stagnant fresh and brackish water sources. This means they thrive in junkyards, open containers that collect rainwater, catch basins and clogged drainage ditches. Some of the best practices to control mosquitoes are the same ones that protect our water and watershed: low impact development techniques to manage stormwater (including permeable paving, rain gardens and vegetative swales that quickly drain stormwater into the ground), maintaining healthy fish habitats, and using biodegradable products. To reduce mosquito populations you can:

  • Eliminate outdoor trash and containers that might collect water: tires, toys, old cans and bottles, poorly draining flower pots, trashcans and old buckets. Be sure that window boxes have drainage holes. Mosquito eggs can stick to the sides of containers and remain attached until they are covered by water and hatch, so empty and scrub containers that refill at least once a week.
  • Clean out clogged gutters: be sure that paths from gutter to ground are clear and properly positioned to prevent water pooling. Corrugated plastic gutter extensions create hidden mosquito habitats.
  • Change the water in birdbaths every few days.
  • Position awnings, umbrellas, pool covers, and other outdoor fabrics so they don’t collect water.
  • Use biodegradable containers to avoid them collecting water in your own trash can or in a landfill. And don’t forget to drain and wash your own trash can!
  • If you have a surface vent for your septic system or sump pump, or have a rain barrel, be sure to cover the opening with a screen with a mesh small enough to prevent adult mosquitoes from entering.
  • Be sure that sand and sediments from driveways and roads do not collect and block the drainage of stormwater runoff. Repair pavement so there are no water collection points, including where the pavement meets your garage floor. One more good reason to use permeable surfaces on your property!
  • Mosquito habitat reduction harmonizes with good water management practices in your community. You can support these community mosquito habitat control activities:

  • Setting up raingardens and vegetated swales that collect runoff and recharge the groundwater reduces stagnant freshwater sources better than catch basins and drainage ditches. Properly-constructed raingardens are designed to drain quickly and do not hold stagnant water.
  • Fish and amphibians eat mosquito eggs and larvae; making fish habitats healthier helps reduce mosquito populations. Removing dams keeps streams flowing and rivers cooler and upgrading culverts allows fish to move to areas they might not have been able to reach. Reducing fertilizers and other pollutants also leads to healthier fish habitat and less aquatic weeds clogging the waterways.
  • Birds and bats eat adult mosquitoes. While there is no evidence that putting up a single bird or bat house will keep your yard mosquito-free, preserving bird and bat habitats in and around wetlands help keep the total mosquito population down.
  • And don’t forget inside your house: adult mosquitoes can rest during the hot day indoors – repair your window screens to keep them out!



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    Using pesticides to prevent mosquito-borne diseases

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    References