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Landscaping, Gardening and West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is flourishing in North America and other parts of the world. While there is little you can do to eradicate the virus, there are many things you can do to protect your family when they are at home.

Of course, using the right kinds of mosquito repellents are of prime importance and your local pharmacy will be pleased to discuss the best repellents for your geographic area.

There are precautions that you can take to eliminate areas where mosquito larvae will thrive:

Old tires, lying against garage or house walls (Figure 1) are one of the principle breading grounds for mosquito larvae, as pools of standing water are known to accumulate within the tires. If the tire is part of your landscaping, drill a hole in the bottom to allow the water to escape. If it is not being used, dispose of it properly.

Old tires collect water
Figure 1 - Old tires collect water

Bird baths (Figure 2) collect rain water and are notorious for creating breading grounds for mosquito larvae.

Figure 2 - Birdbath

If you have a water feature or pond make sure it is well aerated and if possible add mosquito larvae eating fish. Try to reduce the density of water plants within the water feature as they create excellent small pockets of standing water for mosquito larvae to breed.

If you have tarps or plastic sheeting covering green houses, boats or other items ensure that they are tight and do not have pockets to allow standing water to appear.

Ensure that wheel barrows are tilted to drain any rain water that could collect in the bucket.

Do not leave buckets or flowerpots outside where they can become filled with rain water or water from sprinklers. If you have a rain barrel, get rid of it!

Clean debris and leaves out rain gutters as this is common location for standing water.

Children’s waiting pools are havens for mosquito larvae. Cover them with a tight tarp when they are not being used.

Do not over water your gardens or plants. Pools of water can be created under plants, shrubs and bushes.

Make sure that water drains from under decks. One of the best breading grounds for mosquito larvae is in shaded areas, as water runs between deck boards it is not uncommon to have pools of water under decks that do not get evaporated for extended periods of time because they are not in direct sunlight. Do not let children play under decks if the ground is damp.

Other areas that should be checked for standing water include window wells, child play ground equipment and lawn furniture.

Thinking about standing water when planning your next landscaping project will help prevent accidentally creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Additional Information

You, Your Family & West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes & West Nile Virus