Mosquitoes are in the air…yes, already!

Person swatting a dangerous tiger mosquito by hand

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The Madison County Health Department has a warning to residents: The mosquitoes are already breeding. For this reason, the Vector Control Division wants you to take action.

They ask you to survey your property and do the following:

  • Remove or drain any items holding even a small amount of standing water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, including pet dishes, tarps, buckets, tires, wheelbarrows, potted plants, and children’s wading pools and toys;
  • Clean out gutters and repair any water leaks;
  • Check for standing water around air conditioner;
  • If possible, fill tree holes with expandable foam;
  • Scrub out bird baths and flower pot dishes to remove mosquito eggs every week;
  • Check storm shelters for standing water;
  • Do not overwater lawns as this can result in mosquito breeding on your property and in ditches from runoff;
  • Apply a mosquito larvicide to swimming pools and skimmers with standing water to prevent adult mosquitoes from emerging. These products can be purchased at local retailers that carry pesticides or online. If you need assistance with larvicide, please contact our office.  A pool that is not going to be used this year should be properly covered (to prevent mosquito breeding, the pool and skimmer must be tightly covered so that mosquitoes cannot enter to lay eggs);
  • Please use this checklist from the Alabama Department of Public Health website to assist in inspecting your yard and get the kids involved for a fun family activity!

They also ask you to practice the “Three D’s” for mosquito bite prevention:

  • Drain: Empty and scrub out water containers at least once per week;
  • Dress: Wear light-colored, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing, including long-sleeved shirt and long pants with socks and shoes, if outdoors while mosquitoes are active;
  • Defend: Properly apply an EPA-registered insect repellent with active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus/PMD. Apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent. Follow all label instructions. EPA-registered insect repellents are safe for use by pregnant women.

Preventing Mosquitoes is something we have covered extensively here at WHNT News 19. Here’s one of our reports from last summer:

Zika Virus

At this time, all cases of Zika virus in Alabama were related to travel and not associated with a bite from a local mosquito. Even if they do not feel sick, travelers returning from areas where Zika virus is being spread by local mosquitoes should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so they do not spread Zika to local mosquitoes that could spread the virus to other people. Pregnant women, women trying to get pregnant, and their partner should follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. For the most up-to-date information regarding Zika virus, please go to www.cdc.gov/zika.

To prevent mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, it is very important for residents to help control the mosquito population by addressing breeding areas in their own yards and to report potential problems in their neighbors’ yards. It is not possible for our office to know what is in every yard, so if a resident is aware of a potential problem, please let us know.  Complaints to our office are confidential and we assist residents in addressing the problem through advisement or we will treat a problem area if necessary. In addition to our office, swimming pools with stagnant water located in the city limits of Huntsville should be reported to Community Development Code Enforcement by calling (256) 427-5409 or by using Huntsville Connect at www.huntsvilleal.gov.

Health department staff is available by appointment to conduct a courtesy yard assessment for any resident that is having a mosquito problem.  To request an assessment or to report a potential mosquito breeding problem, please call (256) 532-1915 or send an email to Cheryl.Clay@adph.state.al.us. We are also available to speak at community meetings. Public education is the key to remaining healthy.  Please share this information with your community. We all must work together to minimize the number of adult mosquitoes in the environment!