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Fix-It Chick: Keep mosquitoes at bay

July 2, 2014

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Female mosquitoes require two things to reproduce: water and blood. Stemming their access to these resources can greatly control mosquito populations.

Step 1: Curtail a growing mosquito problem by reducing the insects’ access to water. Female mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water or on very moist soil. Eliminate breeding grounds by eliminating stagnant water around the home. Clean gutters and make sure they drain properly. Remove water-collecting debris in the yard, including tires, buckets, trash can lids, wheel barrows, children’s toys and unused flower pots. Empty and refill pet bowls and bird baths at least twice a week.

Step 2: A day or two after it rains, empty any remaining water collected on tarps, boat covers, patio furniture, play ground equipment and other outdoor items. Even a tablespoon of stagnant water can serve as a mosquito hatchery.

Curtail the mosquito population near your home by reducing their access to water and blood they need to reproduce.

Curtail the mosquito population near your home by reducing their access to water and blood they need to reproduce.

Step 3: Keep pools and hot tubs properly chlorinated. Use BTi (bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) dunks, plunks or granules to treat non-chlorinated water sources such as ponds, rain barrels and livestock troughs.

Step 4: A day or two after a good rain look for moist soil in the yard. Fill low-lying areas with dirt and properly grade the yard so water runs away from the house and yard.

Step 5: Landscape with mosquito-repellent plants, including lemon balm, eucalyptus, marigolds, geraniums, chrysanthemums, asters, pyrethrum daisies, and herbs, such as anise, basil, cat nip, coriander and rosemary.

Step 6: Reduce mosquito habitats by keeping grass mowed and eliminating weeds, brush piles and other unkempt areas in the yard.

Step 7: Use aromatic cedar mulch and citronella candles to deter mosquitoes around patio areas.

Step 8: Install an outdoor fan or use portable fans near patio areas to disperse mosquito-attracting carbon dioxide.

Step 9: Reduce mosquito bites by wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, including long sleeves and pants.

Step 10: Avoid flowery or fruity mosquito-attracting fragrances in perfumes, hairsprays, laundry detergents and fabric softeners.

Step 11: Sparingly apply insect repellent to exposed skin and reapply every three to four hours. DEET, Picaridin and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus are the most recommended and effective repellents. Essential oil mixtures with basil, cedar, citronella, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon balm, myrrh, peppermint, pine or rosemary may also help deter mosquito bites.

Step 12: Temporarily discourage mosquito activity prior to outdoor gatherings by treating the lawn and surrounding vegetation with mosquito-repelling sprays or granules.

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