Saturday, October 08, 2005

Mosquitoes Don't Take Summer Vacations

(MF) - The lazy days of summer should mean rest and relaxation. However, for millions of families and their pets, longer days and hotter weather mean one thing - dealing with mosquitoes. Since these annoying pests can potentially transmit West Nile virus, viral encephalitis, canine heartworm and other serious conditions, finding a way to cope with the problem is a priority for homeowners.

Mosquitoes typically fly less than a mile from their breeding ground, which makes the backyard the first place to take action. Ornamental ponds, birdbaths and gutter run-off are common sources of the standing water environment where mosquito populations originate. By short-circuiting those breeding zones, homeowners can positively affect the number of mosquitoes in their backyards.

"Change the water every week in birdbaths and wading pools," said Doug VanGundy, an entomologist for Wellmark International. "Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with fish, which will eat the mosquitoes."

VanGundy also advises consumers to battle mosquitoes by seeking out and draining any unnecessary sources of standing water. Clogged roof gutters, recycling bins, tarps or pool covers are primary targets. For water sources that can't be drained, a simple maintenance
program will help.

VanGundy recommends a process called larviciding to help control and reduce mosquito populations in standing water. Larviciding kills mosquitoes where they breed, before they have a chance to grow into biting adults. One new larvicide, the PreStrike Mosquito Torpedo, provides 60 days of protection without harming humans, animals, fish or vegetation, when used as directed.

Remembering a few basic mosquito prevention tactics can go a long way toward ensuring that summertime living is easy and disease-free.


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