State Public Health Department urges homeowners to mosquito proof yards, reduce Zika virus threat

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As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is calling on homeowners to help control mosquitoes by eliminating standing water from containers that can collect rainwater where insects breed.

“Everyone needs to do their part to help reduce the mosquito population,” said Hiram Polk Jr., MD, DPH commissioner. “As we are out in the garden getting ready for the growing season or after a rain shower, spend a moment or two thinking about other potential breeding areas for mosquitoes. Walk around your yard once a week or after a rain shower to see if there are any containers holding water and drain them.”

Female mosquitoes need only a teaspoon of water in which to lay eggs; can become an adult mosquito in just seven days; and have a lifespan of about two weeks. Mosquitoes will lay eggs in almost anything such as a bottle cap, a candy wrapper, folds of a plastic tarp or downspout, discarded tires, children’s toys or the seat of a riding lawn mower.

Mosquitoes lay eggs on the walls of water-filled containers and the eggs stick like glue and remain attached until they are scrubbed off. The eggs can survive when they dry out up to 8 months. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out containers that can hold water.

Common household items that can be a home for mosquito larvae include buckets, garbage cans, tires, tarps, gutters and flexible downspout extensions, decks and porches, kiddie pools and pool covers, sand boxes, wagons and big plastic toys, planter saucers or planters without drainage holes, wheelbarrows, watering cans, bird baths, decorative ponds without fish and unscreened water barrels.

If you cannot eliminate or drain a breeding ground because it is too heavy to move, consider using a larvacide such as mosquito dunks containing a biological larvacide.

For more information about the mosquito proofing your yard to reduce mosquito populations, see this video featuring Dr. Anna Yaffee, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Kentucky Department for Public Health.

For further information visit the Health Alerts website or the CDC website. Be sure to follow KYHealthAlerts on Twitter and DPH’s Zika mascot, Marty Mosquito, on Instagram, @martymosquito.

Throughout the planned 52 Weeks of Public Health promotion, DPH will spotlight a specific public health issue.

Additional information about the campaign is available on the DPH website and will be posted on the CHFS Facebook page, where Kentuckians are encouraged to like and share posts among their networks of friends.

From Kentucky Department of Health Communications

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