Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 26, 2013

Keep insects under control


— Last year, a drier-than-normal spring progressed into a severe drought. Subsequently mosquitoes weren’t the problem they usually are during spring in north central Indiana.

That’s about to change.

Between 10 and 12 inches of rain has fallen in Kokomo over the last 30 days, online maps of the National Weather Service say. The rain and flooding that has plagued the area has created ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, health officials say.

What’s more, the wet weather could revive mosquito eggs that didn’t hatch last year, David Fiess of the Allen County Health Department told WANE-TV this week. He said mosquito eggs can survive up to 10 years.

There’s a lot you can do to head off mosquitoes this spring and all summer long. 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 when warm weather finally arrives. 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.