Mosquito control on your own property

What homeowners can do to prevent water-holding containers from becoming breeding sites for mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are a controllable pest. The mosquitoes bothering you may be emerging from wetlands located up to 2 miles away or they may be coming from containers on your own property. Homeowners should be aware that once a container is inundated with rainwater in the summer, it becomes a likely site for a mosquito to lay eggs on the water surface. If the water remains in the container for more than a week, the larvae that emerge from the eggs will have enough time to develop into their adult flying stage. It is not unusual to see hundreds of mosquito larvae in as little as one pint of water. Once mosquito larvae mature and emerge from the water, their likely targets will be the owners of the yard and their neighbors.

To prevent a yard from becoming a source for mosquitoes, homeowners should make a thorough inspection of their property and remove or modify water-holding containers that may breed mosquitoes. Tires should either be disposed of or stored inside a garage or cellar. Potential water holding containers such as rubbish barrels, buckets, wheelbarrows and small boats should be covered or stored upside down. The water in wading pools and birdbaths should be changed at least once a week. Infrequently used pools should be tightly covered or chlorinated. Barrels used by gardeners to collect rainwater should be emptied once a week or treated with Bti, an effective and relatively non-toxic mosquito larvicide. Ornamental ponds should be stocked with small fish or treated with Bti as needed. Bti is available to homeowners under the product name, Mosquito Dunks.

If residents have any questions about mosquitoes or how to control them, contact the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project at (781) 899-5730