April showers bring May flowers — and swarming mosquitoes. There are more than 170 species of mosquitoes in North America, many of them capable of carrying deadly diseases.
The American Mosquito Control Association is urging the public to be aware of the harm that mosquitoes can cause and is offering tips for practicing safe mosquito control this spring.
“A mosquito needs as little as a teaspoon of standing water to lay its eggs,” says AMCA technical adviser Joe Conlon. “Places like rain gutters, old outdoor buckets, tree holes and empty flower pots make excellent spots for breeding. Therefore, it’s extremely important to eliminate these sources to help reduce the mosquito population around your home and your neighborhood.”
To help prepare for mosquito season, AMCA reminds the public to practice the three D’s — Drain, Dress and Defend:
Worldwide, mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever infect and kill millions of people every year. In the United States, mosquitoes spread several types of encephalitis, a swelling of the brain, in addition to transmitting heartworm to common household pets.
“Mosquitoes, and the diseases they carry, are already here,” adds Conlon. “While we cannot make them completely disappear, we must be prepared to prevent their spread throughout our public health landscape. This requires safe, effective, sustained mosquito control and awareness in the community.”
AMCA offers these tips for making any backyard a mosquito-free zone: