Mosquitoes can develop in any standing water that is present for more than five days. To reduce the mosquito population around your home and property, eliminate all standing water and debris. Here are some spots where water can collect or where poor maintenance can cause problems.
Dump Standing Water
- Pool cover that collects water, neglected swimming pool, hot tub or child's wading pool.
- Birdbath (clean weekly) and ornamental pool (stock with fish).
- Any toy, garden equipment or container that can hold water.
- Flat roof without adequate drainage.
- Clogged rain gutter (home and street).
- Leaky faucet or pet bowl (change water daily).
- Uncovered boat or boat cover that collects water.
- Missing, damaged or improperly installed screens.
- Tree rot hole or hollow stump.
- Junk and discarded tires (drill drain holes in bottom of tire swings).
You should also...
- Get rid of tin cans, bottles, jars, buckets, drums and other containers, or keep them empty.
- Empty your small plastic wading pool weekly and store it indoors when not in use. Make certain your swimming pool is properly maintained and the cover stored so it won't collect water.
- Don't let runoff water from your air conditioner accumulate in shady areas. Repair faulty septic fields.
- Change water and scrub vases holding flowers or cuttings once a week - or grow cuttings in sand.
- Don't dump grass clippings, branches or other items in storm creeks.
- Keep in mind that mosquitoes rest in vegetation and other protected places; keep the grass cut and bushes trimmed.
- Wear light colored clothing (white is best) and a white hat as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Wear long sleeves and long pants to minimize exposed skin.
- Homeowners can purchase biological mosquito control products at garden centers, home supply and other retailers. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is the active ingredient; it destroys the intestinal lining of the mosquito larvae. Another product contains methoprene which prevents the larvae from developing into adults. Barrier sprays are also available that can be sprayed on vegetation where mosquitoes rest.
- Check out various mosquito repellent products and follow label instructions.
It's a fact...
All mosquitoes need water in which to pass their early life states. Adult flying mosquitoes frequently rest in grass, shrubbery or other foliage, but they never develop there.
Some mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water where they hatch in a day or two. Other mosquitoes lay their eggs in old tires, tin cans, or other water-holding containers in which they may remain unhatched for weeks or months until they are covered with water. With both types of mosquitoes, the "wigglers" or larvae grow quickly and turn into "tumblers" or pupae. Soon the skin of the tumbler splits open and out climbs another hungry adult mosquito.
Neighborhood mosquito control
Mosquitoes are an all too familiar summer nuisance. They can also pose a potential health threat as they can transmit such mosquito-born diseases as encephalitis, dengue, malaria and dog heartworm.
The Vector Control Section of the County's Environmental Protection Division operates a disease surveillance program and offers a mosquito control service to residents of unincorporated areas of the County. These control services are also available to residents of incorporated areas on a contract basis.
If you wish to spray your yard to control adult mosquitoes, your Public Health Department, the University of Missouri Extension Center or your local hardware store or garden center can recommend insecticides that are effective and approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Be sure to follow all label instructions carefully.
Remember, treating adult mosquitoes is only a temporary solution. Elimination of breeding sites and stopping mosquitoes while they are still in the water is much more effective and economical.
To report mosquito problems:
Contact Saint Louis County Vector Control
Phone: (314) 615-0680