Mosquitoes transmit some of the world’s most deadly and debilitating diseases—including Zika virus, West Nile virus, yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue fever. During the warm summer months when mosquitoes are most active, it is vitally important to control mosquito breeding sites to keep mosquito populations down and prevent the spread of disease.
“A crucial part of controlling mosquito-borne viruses is reducing places where mosquitoes can breed,” said Jonathan Cohen, mosquito control expert and president of Summit Responsible Solutions (www.summitresponsiblesolutions.com). Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so homeowners and property managers need to be vigilant in eliminating places where water can collect and stand in their yards and gardens.”
To reduce mosquito breeding grounds, dispose of cans, plastic containers, old tires and other items that can collect water. Turn over wheelbarrows and empty children’s wading pools. Clean clogged roof gutters, which can become prime mosquito-breeding pools. Periodically empty the saucers under ceramic pots to make sure they are not harboring mosquito larvae.
Kill mosquito larvae with BTI
Another way to control mosquito breeding is by using BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), which is a naturally occurring bacterium that kills mosquito larvae before they can become flying, biting, disease-spreading adults. Even though BTI is deadly to mosquito larvae, it is harmless to people, plants, pets, fish, wildlife and beneficial insects.
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in standing water, use Mosquito Dunks®, a best-selling mosquito control product that contains BTI. When a donut-shaped Mosquito Dunk® is placed in standing water, the BTI in the Dunk™ will continually kill mosquito larvae for 30 days or more. BTI is an effective way to kill mosquito larvae in ponds, bird baths, animal watering troughs, stock tanks, neglected swimming pools, rain barrels and anywhere water collects.
In flood-prone areas, a Mosquito Dunk® can be staked or tied to keep it in place. Once flooding occurs, the Dunk™ starts working right away. When flood waters recede, Mosquito Dunks® dry out and the BTI goes dormant until the next flood.
BTI in granulated form
In areas that are difficult to treat with Mosquito Dunks®, use a granulated form of BTI called Mosquito Bits®. These small BTI granules are perfect for areas such as turf tracks and low spots in a yard, tarps on boats or woodpiles, under decks, in tree holes, in saucers under container plants and in tropical plants like bromeliads that hold small pools of water. Mosquito Bits® granules can be sprinkled into virtually any place where water can collect. Mosquito Bits® can also be used to kill mosquito larvae in swampy areas and larger areas where water cannot be drained.
Mosquito Bits® are also highly effective as a “shock treatment” where immediate larval control is needed due to an extremely dense population of mosquito larvae. Mosquito Bits® release BTI quickly, which provides a fast kill of mosquito larvae. Unlike long-lasting Mosquito Dunks® though, Mosquito Bits® need to be reapplied every 7 to 10 days for maximum mosquito larvae control.
“Once you’ve reduced mosquito breeding grounds in your backyard and used BTI to kill mosquito larvae, get your neighbors involved in mosquito control, too,” said Cohen. “The mosquitoes in one yard can easily travel into the yards of everyone on the block. It’s important for the entire neighborhood to take mosquito control seriously.”
Mosquito Dunks® and Mosquito Bits® are available at garden centers, hardware stores, farm stores, home centers, mass merchants and online retailers.
Mosquito Dunks® and Mosquito Bits® contain a naturally occurring bacterium called BTI that is deadly to mosquito larvae but harmless to other living things
Mosquito Dunks® and Mosquito Bits are registered trademarks of Summit Chemical Company.