Home Maintenance Is Vital in Combating Rising Mosquito Threat
Despite recent news that Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that can carry Zika, chikungunya and other viruses, has spread to 30 states, the majority of Americans have yet to embrace basic recommendations to help reduce the mosquito population at their own homes.
That’s the result of a new survey fielded by TNS Global detailing homeowners’ knowledge of steps to reduce mosquitoes in their yards. According to The Mosquito Squad Fight the Bite Report, nearly three-quarters of Americans do not plan to modify their time outside this year because of mosquito activity, yet less than half follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to use mosquito repellent, and just one-third remove standing water, a simple task also recommended by the CDC, to reduce mosquito breeding.
“Unlike chikungunya and West Nile virus, Zika has been identified as a world health crisis, and we must work together on personal, local and global levels to fight mosquitoes,” said Scott Zide, president and COO of Outdoor Living Brands and co-founder of Mosquito Squad, the largest home and commercial mosquito-control company in the country. “Removal of standing water is the most essential tactic in mosquito elimination, yet homeowners aren’t actively removing it, which is surprising given that mosquito concerns are high.”
According to Zide, just as surprising was the finding that 46 percent of homeowners said they did not plan to do anything differently in their yards, despite recent news of the Zika virus. The survey found that:
• Only 36 percent of Americans turn over toys or items in their yards that contain water.
• Less than one-half throw out lawn debris, under which mosquitoes can breed.
• Just one-quarter of Americans shake out tarps, including BBQ and fire pit covers, to remove water that accumulates.
• Less than 27 percent make sure their gutters are clean.
• Only a little more than a quarter walk their yard regularly to remove items that can harbor mosquitoes.
“Although Zika has yet to be transmitted by mosquitoes in the U.S., public health experts do expect that it soon will, and we’re encouraging homeowners to walk their yards to check for ways to eliminate mosquitoes,” Zide said.
Tips To Eliminate Mosquitoes
• Tip over anything that holds or collects water. A bottle cap holds enough water for mosquitoes to breed.
• Toss any yard trash, including clippings, leaves and twigs.
• Turn over items that could hold water and trash. Look for children’s portable sandboxes, slides or plastic toys; underneath and around downspouts; in plant saucers; empty pots; light fixtures and dog water bowls. Eliminate these items or keep them turned over until used.
• Remove tarps that can catch water. If tarps or covers are not stretched taut, they are holding water.
• Take care of your home. Regularly clean gutters, regrade areas where water stands for more than a few hours, check irrigation systems to ensure they aren’t leaking, and keep lawn height low and areas weed-free.
• Team up. Despite taking all precautions, talking with neighbors is a key component to mosquito control. Townhomes and homes with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor’s home and affect your property.
• Treat. Utilize a professional mosquito-elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug sprays on humans and pets. 💓