Eliminate standing water to deprive mosquitoes of breeding spots
5 tips to stay ahead of the mosquitoes
By now, we’re all well aware of the harmful diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, including malaria, West Nile and heartworms. As if we didn’t already have enough to worry about, we’ve been recently introduced to the Zika Virus, which has grabbed media attention after being linked to birth defects in babies through the bite of an infected mosquito. This is why keeping pesky mosquitos away from around your home and yard has become a must-do, especially considering the escalating health risks associated with the Zika Virus.
Homeowners must be proactive about existing or potential drainage problems so they don’t run the risk of having their yards become a breeding ground.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it only takes one week for standing water to turn in to a breeding habitat for mosquitoes. Keeping mosquitoes away from your home, yard and family is much more than a matter of convenience; it may help preserve your health.
The single most effective thing you can do as a homeowner to minimize the presence of mosquitoes around your property is eliminate standing water wherever it occurs. Because mosquitoes lay their eggs in still water, puddles and standing water in your yard can become a breeding ground.
When warm weather arrives, that low spot in the backyard where water always collects becomes much more troublesome than just being an eyesore according to Ryan Larsen, a civil engineer with NDS Inc., a leading manufacturer of water management solutions.
Homeowners may think solving their drainage problems will be difficult and costly, or that they’ll end up with an ugly drainage ditch on their property. But Larsen says it is possible to eliminate standing water cost-effectively and attractively. He suggests homeowners take these five simple steps:
- Identify actual or potential trouble spots.
Is there a low area in the yard where water collects after rain? Are any downspouts or gutters on your home clogged with debris? Does water linger along a retaining wall, edging, walkway or patio after you’ve irrigated the lawn? Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in very shallow standing water, so anywhere water collects could be a breeding ground.
- Address the easy fixes first.
The gutters, downspouts and minor collection spots are easily addressed by simply clearing away the obstructions. When those issues are resolved, homeowners should concentrate on addressing low areas on their property. Specifically, it’s important to look for muddy, wet areas because they can kill grass and attract mosquitoes that can eventually lead to more serious damage to a homeowner’s property.
- Determine the scope of the problem.
Standing water on a property can occur in multiple spots, from walkways to lawns. NDS offers an online Home Drainage Center to help you identify your problem, possible solutions and whether the resolution is a DIY project or if you’ll need to hire a professional.
- Choose and install your solution.
French drains, underground drainage and catch basins are typical solutions for many home drainage problems. Placing drainage underground not only minimizes the risk of mosquitoes breeding in standing water, it can preserve the visual appeal of your landscape. For example, for NDS drainage solutions that involve catch basins, the company offers a wide selection of decorative catch basin grates, so the portion of the system you can’t hide will be visually appealing. Most drainage systems can be installed in just one weekend.
- Take steps to protect yourself.
Mosquitoes have been around since the time of the dinosaurs (and they’ve been spreading malaria for that long, too.) While eliminating standing water on your property will go a long way toward reducing the number of mosquitoes in your environment, it’s virtually impossible to remove them entirely.
The American Mosquito Control Association recommends that when you are outdoors, wear insect repellant on exposed skin and clothing. Choose repellants with an active ingredient like DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Dark colors attract mosquitoes, so wear lighter colored clothing, and burn citronella candles or run a fan near the ground when you’re enjoying your deck or patio.
Ryan Larsen is a civil engineer at NDS, Inc. He has nearly a decade of experience in civil engineering, land development and the building materials and construction industry, and is an authority on issues and solutions related to drainage for homeowners and businesses. He is also known as “Dr. Drainage” as host of NDS’s educational YouTube video series on drainage systems and storm water management. For more information about home drainage solutions, visit www.ndspro.com, where you’ll also find instructional videos, the Home Drainage Center, production recommendations, installation instructions and helpful links. You can also email your home drainage questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.