With the ground soaked from the recent heavy rains and temperatures forecast to hit the 90s later this week, the region is ideally set up to see an increase in mosquitoes.
As such the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program is reminding residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes which can carry West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, as their numbers increase.
“The recent rains have created ideal breeding habitat for the types of mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus, especially in our urban and suburban communities,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, chief medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), in a recent press release. “Now is the time to eliminate all standing bodies of water around the home and treat storm drains and catch basins that serve as important production sites for these mosquitoes.”
Last year there were nine human cases of West Nile Virus infection in Connecticut. Of the 331,806 mosquitoes trapped, 163 tested positive for West Nile Virus, three tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE) and 53 tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus, according to CAES data.
The Connecticut Mosquito Management Program in conjunction with the CAES is now trapping and testing mosquitoes in 91 locations state-wide for the presence of West Nile Virus, EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses. The program launched June 1.
The Mosquito Management Program offers these tips for avoiding West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Empty standing water from used or discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property (e.g. tire swings).
- Dispose of cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property. Do not overlook containers that have become overgrown by vegetation.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left out of doors. Drainage holes that are located on the sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed in.
- Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. A wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if it is not used on a regular basis.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in bird baths. Both provide breeding habitat for domestic mosquitoes. Change water in bird baths and wading pools on a weekly basis.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family that goes on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes can develop in any puddle that lasts more than seven to ten days during the summer.