You’ve probably been enjoying the bug-free weather this spring in Wisconsin. If you’re like most of us, you have also had the annual mosquito invasion in the back of your mind! While it’s nearly impossible to eradicate the population, mosquito control is something we can all do limit breeding areas in stagnant water around our homes.
Mosquito control is especially relevant right now because of the steady stream of news about the Zika virus and the looming spread to the U.S. With the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the likelihood of more than 500,000 people traveling to and from a hotbed of Zika, controlling the spread is a priority. And Zika isn’t the only blood-borne pathogen of concern in our area. West Nile virus, LaCrosse virus, and Jamestown Canyon virus are also present in Wisconsin.
In Winnebago Country, we know a little bit about mosquitoes and their reproductive cycle. We’re so familiar with them, they’re commonly referred to as the State Bird in spite of the American Robin holding that actual distinction. The breeding ground for mosquitoes is almost always in stagnant water.
At Wrightway Home Improvements in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh, we aren’t the DNR, CDC or a pest control business, but we can give you some great tips on how to minimize mosquito invasions naturally in your backyard.
- Clean out your gutters – Any debris clogging or reducing flow in your gutters could create a premier breeding location for mosquitoes. Here’s a video on just how clogged gutters can get when they aren’t tended to regularly.
- Consider gutter protection – Instead of just clearing clogged gutter, invest in a product that prevents debris from entering your gutter system in the first place. We offer Gutter Helmet as the best solution in our market for sheltering your gutter system. We often find the secondary contributor is incorrectly pitched gutters and we’ll make sure your gutters are draining appropriately.
- Empty all containers – You’d be surprised how many planter pots, wheelbarrows, buckets, or kids toys catch and hold water. And since mosquitoes can lay their eggs in just a fraction of an inch of water, these hidden liquid containers make perfect nesting grounds for mosquito families.
- Maintain landscaping – Standing water can also be a problem in your yard (especially if you have kids who run through sprinklers or play with outdoor water toys), so you should fill in lower areas with dirt so water won’t accumulate there. Of course, it’s easier to see these problem spots if your yard is mowed, bushes are trimmed, and landscaping is weeded.
- Treat your watery areas – If you have a swimming pool, water feature, birdbath, or other area which is filled with water, take steps to keep mosquitoes away from them. There’s a type of bacteria, known as bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which kills mosquito larvae. Adding this bacterium to your pooled water can prevent the formation of new mosquito populations.
- Citronella candles – Lighting a citronella candle is popular for porches or patios. They offer a nice fragrance that can help keep mosquitoes away.
- Mosquito traps – There is a wide array of traps available for small or large yards as well as patio areas or decks. They can be powered by electricity, propane, or batteries — and they let you know they’re working with each “zap.”
- Chemicals – There are a lot of options for chemical treatment on the market including short-term foggers and long-term insecticidal sprays. Be sure to read up on the pluses and minuses for backyard use before introducing insecticide to your home space.
- Build a bat house – Bats eat mosquitoes and other insects, so you may want to invite the winged mammals over by constructing a home for them atop a high pole. This is an especially attractive option for very large yards or acreage.
- Smartphone app – Believe it or not, there’s an app for an Android and iPhone that emits an ultrasonic sound which is bothersome for mosquitoes.
The Center for Disease Control has published some guidelines to help homeowners control mosquito transported diseases. You can take a look at it here.
Get prepared now for the upcoming mosquito season. If you need some help with a gutter or Gutter Helmet project for your home, we’d love to help. We service the Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Madison and Milwaukee markets as a Certified Installer for Gutter Helmet.
To learn more about Gutter Helmet, visit us at www.WrightwayBuilt.com. We have proudly served homeowners in the Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, and the surrounding areas since 1977.