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Ag Agent: Minimize Standing Water To Limit Mosquitoes

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Ag Agent: Minimize Standing Water To Limit Mosquitoes

Looking out your window at those spring colors only to be greeted by large mosquitoes bumping against the glass?

Recent rains are the reason. White County Agriculture Extension Agent Scott Swoape said “container mosquitoes” are the most common species of these pests in Tennessee. He said these insects depend on standing water to develop larvae. He said to limit the hoard, keep your yards clear of larva sites.

“Remove any containers or objects like tires, buckets, anything like that around the home that would hold water,” Swoape said. “Do not allow the water to remain in flower pots or pet dishes for longer than a week. Clean your gutters and downspouts and things like that.”

Swoape said humans can lean on reinforcements from the animal kingdom for additional help. He said the purple martin is a bird species that feeds heavily on mosquitoes. Residents can provide feeders, build birdhouses, and fill bird baths to attract the migratory birds, Swoape said.

“To eliminate mosquito production, we need to change out that water in those bird baths at least once a week,” Swoape said. “Another is water in the landscape. If you’re watering plants around the landscape and stuff, make sure you don’t wet it too much that water’s going to be standing there and stuff.”

He said swimming pools need to be changed weekly to prevent larvae from developing. He said permanent pool mosquitoes are common in areas where water stands for more than three weeks. He said those living near ponds and swamps are most susceptible. He said mosquito bites can also spread disease.

“One of the viruses that we hear a lot about is West Nile Virus,” Swoape said. “West Nile Virus, it primarily affects birds, but also can affect things like horses, cats, dogs, skunks, squirrels, anything like that, and also humans.”

Swoape said the first human case of West Nile Virus in Tennessee came during 2002. There were 15 cases reported last year. He said to avoid bites, people are best served to lather up with repellants containing Deet.

He said the EPA has released a list of newer, healthier options that contain essential oils and are effective in limiting bites.


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