New Hanover County Residents Urged to Take Steps to Reduce Mosquitoes Following Record Rainfall
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Due to the extreme rainfall this past week, New Hanover County received as much as 14 inches of rain creating many areas where mosquitoes can potentially breed. Limiting the areas where mosquitoes can live around your home or place of business is an important way of reducing their populations. Ways to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease include:
- Remove any containers that can hold water (source reduction), even if it’s a small amount (1/8”).
- Check tarps, buckets, saucers under flower pots, kid’s toys, trash cans, wheel barrels, kayaks/canoes, boats, pools, pipes, cans, under decks, etc. for standing water and eliminate the potential for these items to hold water;
- Store out of service or un-mounted tires under cover so as to prevent the collection of any water;
- Keep gutters clean and in good repair;
- Repair leaky outdoor faucets;
- Change the water in bird baths and pet bowls at least once a week;
- When possible, drain any standing water on your property such as puddles and ditches that hold water for more than a few days after rain. Other solutions include filling in low spots or planting native species in those low areas.
- Make sure rain barrels have tight-fitting screens or lids;
To protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites:
- Reduce time spent outdoors, particularly in early morning and early evening hours when mosquitoes are most active;
- Use screened windows and doors and make sure screens fit tightly and are not torn.
- Wear light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts; and
- Apply mosquito repellent containing an EPA active ingredient such as DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, Picaridin, or IR3535 to exposed skin areas following the label directions.
Some Asian Tiger Mosquito Facts:
- Asian tiger mosquitoes like to bite in the early morning or late afternoon, but will actively feed during all daylight hours (bites are usually below the waste).
- The Asian tiger mosquito lays its eggs inside containers that hold water including boats, tires, tin cans, tarps, buckets, bird baths, plastic toys, appliances and clogged gutters.
- Even small containers can produce hundreds of larvae (they only need 1/8” water).
- During warm weather, it may take only 7 days for the tiger mosquito to grow from egg to adult.
- The adult tiger mosquito is only about 1/8 inch long. It is black with white stripes on its legs and body. There is a single white stripe down the center of its head and back, thus the name “tiger” mosquito.
- They lay their eggs at different times (all juvenile stages including larvae and pupae can be found in containers).
- New Hanover County spray trucks may kill some adult mosquitoes when they come through your neighborhood, however the next day more adults will have replaced those killed. Source reduction is the best means of control.
For additional information regarding mosquito control and protection, please see the following websites: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/stopmosquitoes/index.html, http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html, and http://health.nhcgov.com/your-environment/public-health/.
Deputy Health Director
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