Don’t Let Mosquitoes Ruin Your Summer

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By Lina Younes

With this unrelenting heat and dry weather I didn’t think we would have a problem with mosquitoes in our area. However, it seems to me that there are unusual numbers of mosquitoes and other bugs this summer in spite of the limited rainfall in our region.

In fact, you do not need a heavy rainy season for mosquitoes to multiply. Mosquitoes can easily thrive without a nearby lake or pond. They just need stagnant water. Any container will do. Even a cap ful of water left untouched for less than a week can serve as an ideal breeding ground for numerous species of mosquitoes to proliferate. The female mosquito simply lays her eggs in the water that remains untouched in a ditch, a flower pot, a can, a bird bath or an abandoned tire. And in a couple of days, voila! Hundreds of mosquitoes are born to eagerly feast on us.

So what should we do to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes? The most important thing is to remove any containers where they may live and breed.  Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, or wading pools every couple of days to destroy potential breeding areas. Clear rain gutters and eliminate old tires or other containers around the home which can accumulate water.

Once you’ve eliminated any potential habitats for mosquitoes, use insect repellents safely to protect yourself and your family. As with other pesticide products, EPA recommends that you read the label first and follow the directions on the label. Also, by avoiding outdoor activities during the peak hours for mosquito activities (from dusk to dawn), you may reduce the potential for a mosquito bite. These preventive measures will discourage some of these flying pests and creepy crawlers from using you as their next meal.

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.