Virginia Health Dept. Offers Tips to Control Mosquito Population - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Virginia Health Dept. Offers Tips to Control Mosquito Population

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ACCOMAC, Va. - With the recent Zika virus outbreak, the Virginia Department of Health's Eastern Shore District is asking the community to take measures now to help control the mosquito population come summertime.

It's important to note that the Aedes mosquito, known to transmit Zika, as well as Chikungunya and Dengue Fever, is very different from the more familiar marsh mosquito. Health officials say Aedes mosquitoes are able to lay eggs that survive long periods without water and that can hatch and grow into larvae after a rain shower. The larger, Aedes mosquitoes also feed during daylight hours, unlike marsh mosquitoes.

People can protect themselves from mosquitoes on their property and in the community by doing the following:

1. Reduce mosquito breeding grounds by eliminating standing water on your property.

  • Maintain gutters to drain well and keep gutters and down spouts clean.
  • Eliminate standing water areas with better grading and/or drainage. Where this is a challenge, use mosquito dunks containing a bio control that are available at most hardware stores.
  • Clean up all trash on your property, especially old tires and anything that can contain water.
  • Keep your outdoor trash bins covered at all times.
  • Empty water after each rainfall from flower trays, buckets, boat covers, tarps, flat roofs and any other water that collects on your property. f. At least once per week, clean out bird baths and wading pools.

2. Be a good neighbor.

  • Assist your elderly or disabled neighbors with yard clean-up steps mentioned above.
  • Once a week, pick up trash on your road where you live, to keep ditches draining well.
  • Notify the county when your neighborhood experiences flooding after downfalls. Counties have equipment to improve storm drainage issues.

3. Plant mosquito repelling plants in your flower and vegetable gardens and around your doorsteps. Marigolds, Catnip, Lemongrass, Lemon Thyme, Citronella Grass, Cedars, Mint, Rosemary, Lavender, Clove, and others are naturally fragrant and repel mosquitos.

4. Grow plants that you can use in homemade natural sprays, such as Basil, Bee Balm, Garlic, Lemon Balm, Tea Tree Oil and others.

5. Give mosquito-repelling plants and seeds as gifts to friends and family, to plant in the garden or yard this year instead of cut flowers (or in addition to cut flowers).

6. Make your property attractive to mosquito-eating predators, such as Purple Martins, swallows, migratory song birds, waterfowl, bats, dragon flies, toads, turtles and fish.

  • Put up bird houses on your property.
  • Add native fish to ponds on your property.
  • Refrain from spraying pesticides that are harmful to mosquito predators.

7. When outdoors in mosquito habitats, use personal protection.

  • Wear long loose light colored clothing.
  • Use personal repellents. Repellent products containing DEET and Picaridin typically provide longer lasting protection than others. Oil of lemon eucalyptus, a plant-based repellent, provides protection similar to lower concentrations of DEET.
  • Treat clothes before the season with permethrin. Permethrin will remain in the cloth during several cycles of washing. Tents, window screens, and head nets are examples of other materials that can be treated with permethrin. Avoid spraying permethrin on the skin. Permethrin kills mosquitos and has the additional benefit of killing ticks and flies on contact.
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