The threat of mosquito-borne disease has prompted officials with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and statewide public health agencies to educate the public on how to avoid mosquito bites and how to better control the pests within populated areas. For example, it should now be common knowledge that removing sources of standing water from residential yards and urban areas helps to keep mosquitoes out of human-populated areas, and therefore, helps to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. The most common sources of standing water within residential yards include discarded plastic cups and cans, garbage receptacle lids, tires, buckets, kiddie pools, grill covers, flower pots, and recycle bins. Some residents are better about keeping these common sources of standing water out of their yards than others. Those who do not bother with this method of mosquito control often assume that removing incredibly small sources of water from one single yard will do little to keep mosquitoes away. This assumption is particularly prevalent in neighborhoods that are located near a large body of water. However, mosquitoes prefer small collections of stagnant water, like puddles, as a breeding site, and not so much large bodies of water, like a river.
Obviously, it is impossible to remove all sources of standing water from human-populated areas. In the humid southeast US where rainfall is frequent, there is only so much residents can do to prevent the formation of standing water, and this is why mosquitoes are particularly common in this region. It is important to know, however, that the most dangerous mosquito species rely largely on small sources of standing water in urban and suburban areas for reproduction, and not at all on permanent and natural water sources where a current can disturb a female mosquito’s ability to plant eggs. This makes even a narrow and shallow creek useless as a mosquito breeding site, as the current is too strong to allow mosquito larvae to emerge upon maturation. A water puddle that forms following a bout of rain, on the other hand, is an ideal source of standing water for mosquitoes, as the shallow and stagnant water is optimal for larval development. Of course, a water puddle is one common breeding site that humans cannot easily reduce, but most other breeding sources are provided by humans. If more people were aware that the two most significant disease-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, relied almost solely on stagnant water sources in urban and suburban regions, it is probable that more people would make an effort to remove these water sources on their property.
Do you make a point to remove standing water sources from your yard?