The Harlan County Health Department, Inc. is advising homeowners to begin preparing now for summer mosquito season by ridding their environments of potential mosquito breeding areas. Mosquitoes are a common insect in Kentucky, particularly in the warmer months.
Besides being a nuisance, some mosquitoes are known to carry diseases. You should take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential exposures by reducing possible breeding locations in and around your home.
We should be mindful of areas and objects around our homes that can hold water and also support mosquito breeding: Birdbaths, clogged gutters, flower pots and any other container that retains water is likely to become a breeding site if left untreated. We highly recommend that everyone monitor the areas around your home and remove all sources of standing water in order to reduce the areas where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
The Aedes species of mosquitoes, now in the news due to their association with the Zika virus, are particularly good at using common household containers as breeding locations. These mosquitoes are small in size and dark in color, with white stripes on their legs. Some mosquito species found in Kentucky lay eggs that can survive throughout the winter months and begin hatching as soon as the temperatures begin to warm up.
Several of these mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, with peak biting times during the early morning and late afternoon. They have short flight ranges, so many of the mosquitoes encountered in your backyard most likely originated there. For those reasons, it is important to reduce or eliminated potential breeding sites in and around your homes.
The Harlan County Health Department, Inc. urges residents to continue their prevention efforts throughout the spring and summer seasons by utilizing the following tips in and around your homes:
• Survey property for areas of standing water, and eliminate mosquito breeding areas by removing water as it accumulates.
• Some species of mosquitoes can breed in containers of water as small as a bottle cap. Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that hold water.
• Check your yard weekly for water-filled containers. Throw away or recycle containers that aren’t needed.
• If empty containers must be kept, make sure to store them by covering or otherwise preventing water from accumulating in them.
• Clean and scrub birdbaths and pet watering dishes weekly and dump water from overflow dishes under potted plants and flower pots. Ensure that gutters are not holding water and cover rain barrels with tight screening so that mosquitoes cannot enter.
• Fill tree holes with sand or soil.
For more information, contact Harlan County Health Department, Inc. at 606-573-3700 or the Environmental Office at 606-573-3219.