The Buzz on Stagnant Water: Post-Storm Mosquito Control

It’s hard to find a downside to drought-quenching rainfalls like we had last month. But all of that glorious rainwater can easily collect and turn into a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

When it comes to laying eggs, nature’s peskiest bugs favor the shallow standing water that tends to pool outside your home after a storm. Not only a nuisance when you’re lounging outside on a warm night, mosquitoes can also pose a health threat. Research shows that stagnant water in cities is far more likely to drive up populations of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, compared to natural wetlands, where birds, frogs, bugs and fish gobble up the biting bugs and help keep their population down.

Mosquitoes need just one week of stagnant water to complete their life cycle. So don’t procrastinate. But do steer clear of insecticides. This short-term fix contains harmful water-polluting chemicals that can run into storm drains and out to our local rivers, creeks and ocean. Your best bet for banishing mosquitoes is to rid your home of possible breeding sites. Here’s how:

  • Clear your yard of old tires and any other unneeded items that are likely to catch water during showers and storms.
  • After the rain, empty out all flower pots, window boxes, pet bowls, buckets, kiddie pools and other potential containers where water collected.
  • If you use a tarp to shield piles of wood, gas grills or other equipment, shake it out post-storm to ensure there’s no water stuck in its pockets or folds.
  • Because clogged rain gutters are a top breeding spot for mosquitoes, make sure to clean leaves and other debris from your gutters at least once per season.
  • Keep rain barrels tightly covered to guarantee that your rainwater harvesting is completely mosquito-proof in its protection against ocean-harming runoff pollution.
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