NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Warm summer temperatures and standing water are indicators that mosquito season is officially underway in New Hanover County. As National Mosquito Awareness Week (June 19-25) begins, it’s important to remember the role residents can play in controlling the mosquito population in our area.
“It doesn’t take much water or time for mosquitoes to breed and become a problem. They only need one tablespoon of water and a week to go from a larva to an adult insect,” said New Hanover County Health Director David Howard. “These bugs are more than an annoyance. They can have serious impacts to community health as they’re capable of carrying diseases like West Nile Virus.”
To help keep the mosquito population in-check around your residence, New Hanover County Health and Humans Services Mosquito Control has several helpful tips to prevent your yard from becoming a mosquito breeding ground:
- Dump water from any open outdoor containers and store them inside or with a cover. For larger containers or non/low-flowing ditches where standing water might form, Public Health has free larvicide kits (ZKits) available at the Government Center (230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140) and the Health and Human Services building (1650 Greenfield Street) while supplies last. ZKits should not be used in ponds or large bodies of water as they are typically too deep for mosquito breeding or contain natural predators.
- Tip and toss standing water at least twice a week. Clean out items like flowerpot saucers, children’s toys, bird baths, boats, buckets, container lids, tarps and tires.
- Keep your roof gutters clear of debris.
- Plug tree holes.
- Reduce time spent outdoors, especially in early morning and evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use screened windows and doors to keep bugs out and make sure the screens fit tightly and are not torn.
- Wear light-weight and long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Apply mosquito repellent containing active ingredients such as DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, Picaridin or IR3535 to exposed skin areas following the label directions.
In addition to these efforts you can do at home, the county’s Mosquito Control works to monitor mosquito activity around the county by using traps to capture and analyze different species to determine areas where increased activity is taking place and how to effectively treat the situation.
This team uses a variety of population control methods, including mosquito prevention education, larvicide to target larvae and breeding sites, mosquito larvae eating fish, habitat mitigation for source reduction and ultra-low volume mosquito spraying with EPA-registered pesticide.
Spraying typically occurs in late spring into early fall across 29 spray zones throughout the county. Residents can see a mosquito spray zone map and sign up to get spraying alerts when they are scheduled for their area or learn more about the Mosquito Control team by visiting Health.NHCgov.com.