Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

July 18, 2014

Keep insects under control

State health officials said last week mosquitoes in two northern Indiana counties tested positive for the West Nile virus, The Associated Press reported.

The state health department said mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties were confirmed to have the virus. No cases of humans contracting it have been reported this year, the AP said.

But health officials expect more mosquitoes to test positive in other counties as the summer progresses. So make sure you’re not providing the pests a breeding ground.

Mosquitoes love discarded tires and stopped up gutters. Check around your house and yard to make sure you don’t have any place that collects standing water.

And this isn’t a one-time task. You’ll need to make the rounds of your yard at least once a week.

Doing that should be enough in most yards to keep most mosquitoes at bay.

They love to lay eggs in standing water, but it takes a week to 10 days for the eggs to hatch, so as long as you don’t allow water to stand for that long, the mosquitoes will be out of business.

Of course, if you have an old tire swing tied to the tree out back, you don’t have to go out and dump the water every week. Just punch a couple of holes in the bottom to keep the water from collecting in the first place.

There are spots you just can’t drain. If you know of an area where water consistently collects, call the Howard County Health Department. The department can treat the standing water with a chemical that will keep mosquito larvae from maturing.

There’s no way to eliminate mosquitoes entirely. No matter what you do to make your property mosquito-proof, a few of the pests will likely survive. For those, health experts recommend you wear repellent, particularly in the early morning and in the cool of the evening when mosquitoes are most active. They also recommend wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

The bottom line is that pesky mosquitoes don’t have to ruin your summer fun. With a little work and some common sense, you can keep the irritating insects under control.

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