How to Eliminate Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Mosquitoes are an all too familiar part of summer. They are not only annoying, but they present a potential health risk as carriers of disease. Eliminating mosquito habitats around your home can go a long way to reduce the mosquito population. Mosquitoes require standing water for their young to hatch and develop, only a few tablespoons of water is all it takes. Once eggs are laid, a new generation of mosquitoes can hatch, grow and emerge from the water as adults in as little as one week.
Here is a checklist of common and easily overlooked mosquito habitats around the home:
- Tires, buckets, cans, bottles and plastic containers
- Bird baths (drain and refill every 3-4 days)
- Wading or kiddie pools (drain and refill frequently)
- Pools and hot tubs (keep chlorinated, covered or keep completely dry)
- Pool covers that hold water
- Boats, boat covers and tarps
- Pet food containers and water dishes
- Clogged gutters and downspouts
- Leaky outside faucets that create puddles
- Rain barrels that are not properly screened or treated (See our rain barrel flyer)
- Low areas that form puddles and hold water
- Planters and pots, including saucers and catch trays
- Trash cans (use tight fitting lids and keep them covered)
- Mature trees that have developed holes that hold water – fill the voids with sand
- ANYTHING that has the potential to hold even small amounts of water
Mosquitoes are attracted to anything they can get a blood meal from. Some mosquitoes, including the ones that carry West Nile virus will readily enter homes when screens are damaged or missing. Avoid being a mosquito meal by taking these simple precautions.
- Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Some more aggressive mosquitoes are active in the daytime too.
- Wear light colors, long sleeves, long pants, and socks when spending time outside in mosquito-infested areas;
- Make sure door and window screens are tight fitting and free of holes;
- Use an EPA registered insect repellent when outside where mosquitoes are present;
- When camping or spending time outdoors, consider Permethrin treated bed-nets, tents, or clothing;
- Avoid perfume, colognes, or other heavy scents that may attract mosquitoes.
These are some things that DON'T work as effectively:
- Bug zappers;
- Electronic “ultrasound” devices;
- Insect repellents that aren’t EPA registered.
Insect repellents play a very important role in protecting people from mosquitoes. They help prevent mosquitoes from biting and reduce your exposure and risk to the diseases they may carry. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends “the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing.” Look for products that contain:
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD
ALWAYS FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS WHEN APPLYING INSECT REPELLENTS
For more information about insect repellents:
Mosquitoes can be quite the nuisance during the summer months and can ruin outdoor summer fun and events. Not only do their bites make us itch, but some mosquitoes can carry diseases that make humans sick, such as West Nile virus. Franklin County Public Health has developed this Homeowner Association Toolkit on mosquito prevention that provides materials to involve residents in the reduction of the mosquito population and to help keep outdoor summer fun enjoyable and disease free!
While these techniques are effective, Franklin County Public Health also relies on residents in the effort to control the mosquito population, especially with the removal of standing water on private property. Within this toolkit, you will find:
- A newsletter article;
- A marquee message for neighborhood/homeowner association front entrance message boards;
- Family fun mosquito prevention activities (see next section below); and,
- An order form for materials that you can use in your neighborhood.
Your assistance in distributing these materials is appreciated. Some suggested distribution methods include block watch groups, neighborhood garage sales, clubhouses, homeowner association meetings, and your organizational website. Please use the order form provided with this toolkit to request quantities of these materials. We hope you find this information useful and please do not hesitate to contact the Bite Line at (614) 525-BITE (2483) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or suggestions!
We've put together text that you can use for a newsletter article, email notification, website message or announcement. Post this information anywhere your neighbors will read it.
Let your neighbors know about what they can do to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your neighborhood. Be creative in how you deliver this message.
- Link to our webpage from your organization’s homepage.
- Use the following mosquito prevention phrase on your community’s entrance board/marquee to remind residents to empty standing water on their properties. "Help do you part to prevent mosquitoes - Eliminate standing water in your yard!"
There are a variety of tools for you to use in your neighborhood to spread to word about mosquito control. Use the order form to request materials. Franklin County Public Health can provide items at no cost such as:
- Door hangers
- Refrigerator magnets
- SWAT Team materials for kids
Mosquito Scavenger Hunt
Gather together family, friends and neighbors and put together a scavenger hunt of possible mosquito breeding sites that hold standing water (buckets, flower pots, bird baths, outdoor toys, pet bowls, etc). Write down your list of items and leave some blank spaces for bonus items that teams might find. The team that finds the most items wins. Don’t forget to dump out any standing water that you find!
Photo Scavenger Hunt
Do the same things as the scavenger hunt above, but instead of marking your items down on a list, take photos of your group in action dumping out that standing water. Have fun with it and strike some great poses. You could determine the winner by which team has the most items, or by which group has taken the best or funniest photos.
SWAT Team Activity and Coloring Books
Franklin County Public Health has developed two different activity books for children to complete and learn how they can prevent mosquitoes. The books can be found in the SWAT Team section of our website (below). Print them out and enjoy some fun mosquito math, puzzles, and coloring.
Lend a Helping Hand
Do you have an elderly neighbor who could use some help with removing standing water? Volunteer to help them dump out or remove standing water from their yard. Mosquitoes usually stay very close to wear they breed and hatch, so you’ll be helping yourself, too.
Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) has developed mosquito educational materials for kids that are designed to spread the message that kids can protect themselves from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.
- Review of the lifecycle of the mosquito;
- Information on how kids can protect themselves from mosquito bites;
- SWAT Team pledge and pin.
SWAT Team Materials
All of the SWAT Team materials can be downloaded except for the button.
SWAT Team Button
Free buttons can be ordered from FCPH to designate they are now a member of the SWAT Team and ready to take on mosquitoes.