With the rise of blood-borne illnesses such as Zika and West Nile, homeowners are increasingly eager to keep mosquitoes from setting up shop on their lawns. But how can you keep these flying
pests from squatting on your property? It’s all a matter of knowing how mosquitoes thrive and what their life cycle looks like.
Watch for Stagnant Water
When it comes to combating mosquito populations, the old axiom that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely applies. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so getting rid of any puddles of standing water, even those that are just a few inches deep, will go a long way to ridding your property of mosquitoes.
Check everywhere water may collect, even in places you may not initially notice, such as empty plant pots or tarps draped over your lawn furniture. Even areas where water is supposed to collect — such as bird baths, decorative ponds and swimming pools — need to be emptied, stocked with mosquito-gobbling fish or treated with chlorine.
Exercise Caution with Chemicals
Sometimes you can’t control the presence of standing water that’s not on your property, so you may be considering chemical pesticides as a solution. Pest control companies are doing big business selling chemical mosquito killers, but in spite of buzzword claims like “all natural” or “EPA approved,” these chemicals may not be entirely safe.
According to Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, the EPA has an official position that no pesticides are 100% safe for humans, so “EPA approved” doesn’t mean “completely safe for your kids to frolic in.” There are some potential health risks associated with using pesticides, including those that target mosquitoes, even if those bug-killing chemicals come from natural sources such as flowers.
It may be best for you to assess the risk of mosquito-borne illness such as Zika or West Nile and weigh them against the risk of the pesticides you may use to drive those bugs away. If no mosquito-borne illnesses have been reported in your area, chemical pesticides may not be worth the risk.