Mosquitoes can be a summertime pest which no one enjoys. The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) reminds residents about the health dangers associated with mosquitoes, including mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile and Zika viruses and St. Louis and Lacrosse Encephalitis. If improperly managed, a rain barrel could become a mosquito habitat.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, which includes puddles, stagnant ditches, old tires, buckets, cans, neglected swimming pools and flower pots. Eliminate standing water on your property to reduce mosquito breeding sites.
Rain barrels are a great alternative to catching rainwater sitting in open containers. Capture rainwater from rooftops by connecting a flexible downspout to a rain barrel. A spigot on the barrel allows for a garden or soaker hose to be attached or a watering can to be filled. Licking Soil & Water’s rain barrels have a permanent lid and securely fitting inlet and outlet to keep mosquitoes from getting into the barrels. The inlet and outlet of the rain barrels also have screens to minimize debris and prevent insects from getting inside the barrel. The inlets and outlets are removable so screens are easy to clean if clogged.
If rain water gathers on the top of the rain barrel, simply drilling a couple small holes through the top ring to allow water to drain.
LCHD’s mosquito control program was established in 2001 and covers nearly all of Licking County, excluding a few entities that conduct their own control programs. Mosquito traps are placed in pre-identified locations in the county to monitor mosquito populations and test for West Nile Virus. If the number of mosquitoes caught in a location exceeds LCHD’s threshold, staff will work with the elected officials in that area to schedule an adult mosquito control application.
LCHD’s mosquito control program utilizes an integrated pest management approach where the least toxic intervention is applied to control mosquitoes. LCHD applies EPA-approved products in a careful manner and in accordance with all applicable laws. Mosquito spraying applications are administered after dusk during the mosquito breeding season by a LCHD-marked vehicle. For more information on how to prevent mosquito bites and LCHD’s mosquito control program, visit www.LickingCoHealth.org.