Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District

education

Backyard Checklist

Mosquitoes need standing water in order to lay their eggs and develop. What most people don’t realize is the surprising number of areas around their own house where mosquitoes can find the standing water they need. The main rule: If it can hold water for more than a few days, it can breed mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a bottle cap of water. This page is here to help you identify sources around your house.

Fishponds

Those most delightful of water features can be home to more than just your fish. Mosquitoes find this to be an ideal breeding ground, especially if the pond is in a state of disuse. This can not only increase the local mosquito population, but it also makes you very unpopular with your neighbors.

Solution
Your local mosquito abatement district can provide you with mosquitofish free of charge. Make sure you remove excess vegetation, as that can provide a place for mosquitoes to hide from fish.

Treeholes

Surprise, surprise. There is actually a species of mosquito that specializes in laying its eggs in treeholes! That means that tree your kids like to climb in the backyard is at risk of being a breeding ground, if treeholes are present.

Solution
Unless you plan to get rid of the tree, your best plan of action is to call your local mosquito abatement district, or a licensed tree service.

Old tires

Most people don’t realize how perfect these are for mosquitoes. People leave their old tires outside, they catch rain, and it’s almost impossible to empty out all the water inside (seriously, have you tried? Not an easy task). If even a little water is left, that’s enough for mosquitoes to grow.

Solution
The best solution is to simply get rid of the tires. Take them to the dump, or pay a tire store or gas station to recycle them. If you feel the need to keep them, drill holes into them so the water can drain.

Leaky spigots

Aside from being a waste of water, leaks can become a mosquito problem. It doesn’t take much water to support the development of mosquitoes, and even a small leak can create a big puddle.

Solution
This is a no-brainer. Fix the leaky faucet. Not only will it stop the mosquito breeding problem, it’ll do wonders for your water bill.

Tarps

You use these to cover the things you don’t want hit by the rain–logs, boats, truck beds, etc. Unfortunately there are sometimes dips in the tarps that can trap stagnant water. And all it takes is a little water to breed mosquitoes.

Solution
If you can’t remove the tarp, shake it off and replace it every few days or so during the rainy season or if it is contact with sprinklers.

Street gutters

That little area that divides the sidewalk from the street. It channels water away after rainstorms and from your car washing to the nearest storm drain. On occasion, these gutters don’t work properly. For various reasons (like a tree lifts the pavement, pavement sinks), the street gutters pool the water instead of draining it away, and they become the perfect neighborhood for mosquitoes–just beyond your front yard.

Solution
If the gutter is simply blocked by debris, sweeping it regularly can keep water moving on its way.  If there is consistently standing water, contact you local mosquito abatement for treatment.

Storm drains

This is a blessing and a curse. In the rainy season, they divert water so it doesn’t create mosquito habitat. However, in warmer times, they can trap various amounts of water in an area sheltered from the sun–a perfect place for mosquito breeding.

Solution
For the most part, you don’t have to worry about this. Your local mosquito abatement district checks storm drains on a regular basis. If you think you’re having a problem with one near you though, contact them about it.

Containers

Kids leave them out, and so do you. Whether it’s your child’s dump truck, empty flower pots, wheelbarrows, or plastic buckets, the rule is the same: If it can hold water for more than a few days, it can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Solution
Drain them, put a lid on them, turn them upside-down, or just get rid of them.

Bird baths

They’re pretty, they attract birds…and mosquitoes, unfortunately. This is a big source of mosquito problems that most people overlook, especially if they don’t pay much attention to it. Because it’s often in the sun, and it’s a shallow source of water, the water is warmed, and it actually encourages mosquitoes to grow faster!

Solution
Clean the bird bath out by thoroughly changing the water at least once a week.  If there are any mosquito larvae, they will die once they are out of the water.

Swimming pools

Swimming pools are not a problem if properly maintained. But when a pool is neglected, it becomes a large breeding ground for mosquitoes. An unmaintained pool (or spa) can breed thousands of mosquitoes capable of transmitting West Nile virus.

Solution
Keep you swimming pool properly chlorinated. If you can’t do that, contact your local mosquito abatement district for treatment or request mosquitofish.