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Mosquito Sources in your Backyard
The main rule when it comes to breeding grounds for mosquitoes is that they need stagnant water in order to lay their eggs. What most people don't realize is the surprising number of areas around their own house where mosquitoes can find the stagnant water they need. The main rule: If it can hold water for more than a few days, it can breed mosquitoes. This page is here to help you identify sources around your house, and give you some simple solutions to their elimination.

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: If the pond is in disuse, your local mosquito abatement district can provide you with mosquito fish free of charge. If you have an active fishpond, make sure you remove excess vegetation, as that can provide a stable place for mosquitoes to breed.

Swimming pools: Most of the time, this isn't a problem when the pool is maintained. But when a pool is neglected, it becomes a large pool of stagnant water, and it becomes a large breeding ground for mosquitoes as well. Talk about your residential district!

Solution: Maintain your pool! How can you have a pool party otherwise? If you can't do that, contact your local mosquito abatement district, and ask them about getting mosquito fish. These fish can easily survive in your pool, and they'll devour the mosquito larvae.

Bird bath: They're pretty, they attract birds...and mosquitoes, unfortunately. This is a big source of mosquito problems that most people overlook, especially if they have a bird bath and don't pay much attention to it in the first place (as in "it came with the place, but I never wanted one."). 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: This is pretty easy. All you really have to do is agitate the water that's inside of the bird bath every few days. In plain English: Wash it out with your hose!

Containers: Kids leave them out, and so do you. Whether they're your boy's dump truck, empty flower pots, wheelbarrows, little 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: Have the kids take their toys inside, or at least out from underneath the open sky, and get that bucket and wheelbarrow into the garage, or turn them upside-down, or just get rid of them.

 

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Storm drains: This is a two-edged sword. In the rainy season, they keep the streets from becoming lakes and rivers. However, in warmer times, they become a problem, as they can trap a small amount 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.

 

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: The chief culprit of this problem is the overwatering of front yards. Keeping to a regular schedule of watering can do quite a bit toward solving the problem. If the pavement is lifted in any way, or is improperly sloped, call your local public works; the street is the jurisdiction of the city, and it's their obligation to fix it. If on the other hand you're feeling civic-minded, grab a broom and sweep the water away!

Tarps: You use these to cover those things you don't want hit by the rain--logs, truck beds, whatever. Unfortunately, as good as they are in protecting your belongings, there are sometimes dips in the tarps that can trap stagnant water. And all it takes is a little water...

Solution: If the weather's nice, you really don't need those tarps out, do you? At the very least, you can just remove the tarp, shake it off, and replace it every few days or so if you really need to keep something covered year round.

Leaky spigots: Aside from being a waste of water, that same wasted water can become a problem in the case of mosquitoes. It doesn't take much water to support the breeding of mosquitoes, and sometimes the leak can provide that amount of water.

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

 

Old tires: Most people don't realize how perfect this is 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 breed in.

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 take and recycle them. If for some reason you feel the need to keep them, drill some holes into them so they can drain, and keep them in a place where they'll stay dry.

 

Treeholes: Surprise, surprise. There is actually a breed 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 said treeholes are present.

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

Clogged rain gutter: It happens every year. The trees lose their leaves, dropping them onto your roof, and the yearly rains drop the leaves into your gutter, creating little pools of standing water above your heads. They last longer than you realize, and when mosquito season comes around, they have the perfect place to breed.

Solution: There's only one solution, sadly. Roll up your sleeves, and clear out that rain gutter--before the weather becomes too warm. Better yet, pay either your kid or the neighbor's kid to do it for you

Remember: Anything that can hold water for more than a few days can be a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. Target the source.