Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 19, 2013

Keep insects under control

Kokomo Tribune

---- — After a drought that lasted most of 2012, the first six months have brought a record-wet start to much of the Midwest, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center reported this week.

“Region-wide precipitation for the Midwest for January through June 2013 is 23.71 inches, which is just over 6 inches above normal,” said the climate center’s Lisa Shepperd, at the Illinois State Water Survey.

At this time last year, Hoosiers were suffering through the sixth-driest January-to-June period, Shepperd said. These first six months in Indiana have been the eighth-wettest on record.

So if your family of late has been complaining more than usual of mosquito bites, you now know the reason.

There’s a lot you can do to slow mosquitoes. The biggest thing is to make sure you’re not providing 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.