Are wetlands, ponds, and vernal pools the major breeding grounds for mosquitoes? Mosquitoes do utilize these areas for breeding but, healthy wetlands and other water bodies actually help control and reduce mosquito populations, due to the diversity of predatory aquatic life supported in them. Mosquitoes typically will only lay eggs in a couple inches of water, leaving only the edges of ponds and lakes as potential breeding areas. So, ensuring that our various ecosystems stay healthy and preserved can only help us in our defense against mosquitoes. Generally speaking, the major breeding grounds for mosquitoes are habitats that we have either altered or created. Helping people gain the knowledge to eliminate mosquito habitat around their home can be our best defense because it eliminates mosquito production sites. Some things to look for and do around your property:

· Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.

· Dispose of or turn over anything that can hold water— cans, plastic containers, toys, ceramic pots or any yard clutter that have collected on your property. Mosquitoes can use something as small as a bottle cap for laying their eggs.

· Cover garbage cans and outside grills.

· Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

· Use fine screens or mesh to cover rain barrels.

· Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year.

Leaves from surrounding trees tend to plug up the drains.

Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.

· Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths..

· Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.

Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.

· Change water in outside pet bowls every day.

· Check outside faucets and window air conditioners for dripping and pooling water.

· Check trees for water-collecting cavities.

· Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use.

Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.

· Check for pooling on flexible plastic covers used outside.

· Pay special attention to discarded tires.

Stagnant water in tires is a thriving habitat for mosquitoes.

· Is there standing water on or near your property and how long has it been there?

DEP and county mosquito control professionals have been using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), a naturally occurring soil bacteria. It can be bought in small, donut-shaped forms, often called “mosquito dunks”, for small areas of standing water, such as a birdbath or small puddle of water that may gather in a low spot on your property. A granular form of Bti is available and effective for larger areas, such as backyard ponds. Bti can be purchased in many lawn and garden, outdoor supply, and home improvement stores. Always follow label and application instructions. The great thing about these bacteria is that it kills only mosquito and black fly larvae. It is not harmful to people, pets, aquatic life (such as fish) or plants. -SH

If you have a concern regarding mosquitoes, please contact Stephanie Summers, mosquito-borne disease control coordinator for the Adams County Conservation District at 717-334-0636 or email ssummers@adamscounty.us.

Submitted on behalf of the Adams County Conservation District.

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