10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Zika Virus and the Mosquito Invasion
Update: We just got word of the first Zika Virus case in Wisconsin. It’s time to take action to prepare your home and yard to best limit impending mosquito invasion.
After all, you’ve probably been enjoying the bugless spring so far in Wisconsin. If you’re like me, you also feel the looming mosquito boom coming! While nearly impossible to completely control, mosquito management is something we can do in our own backyards to limit breeding areas.
Mosquito control is especially relevant right now because of the steady stream of news about the Zika virus and the anticipated spread to the U.S. mainland. The upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio means that more than 500,000 people from around the world will be traveling to known Zika virus area. This could open up the possibility for an explosive spread worldwide. The threat of Zika isn’t the only blood-borne pathogen of concern in Madison. West Nile virus, La Crosse virus, and Jamestown Canyon virus are annual concerns for residents of Dane County.
In Wisconsin, we know a little bit about mosquitoes and their propensity to locate humans. They’re locally referred to as the State Bird in spite of the American Robin holding that literal distinction. The breeding ground for mosquitoes is almost always in stagnant water.
At Wisconsin Home Remodeling in Madison, we aren’t pest control specialists, but we can give you some great tips on how to minimize mosquito invasions naturally in your backyard.
- Clean out your gutters –Any debris clogging or reducing flow your gutters could create a premier breeding location for mosquitoes. Here’s a video on just how clogged gutters can get when they aren’t tended to regularly.
- Consider gutter protection – Instead of just clearing clogged gutter, invest in a product that prevents debris from entering your gutter system in the first place. We offer Gutter Helmet as the best solution in our market for sheltering your gutter system. We often find the secondary contributor is incorrectly pitched gutters and we’ll make sure your gutters are draining appropriately.
- Empty all containers– You’d be surprised how many planter pots, wheelbarrows, buckets, or kids toys catch and hold water. And since mosquitoes can lay their eggs in just a fraction of an inch of water, these hidden liquid containers make perfect nesting grounds for mosquito families.
- Maintain landscaping – Standing water can also be a problem in your yard (especially if you have kids who run through sprinklers or play with outdoor water toys), so you should fill in lower areas with dirt so water won’t accumulate there. Of course, it’s easier to see these problem spots if your yard is mowed, bushes are trimmed, and landscaping is weeded.
- Treat your watery areas – If you have a swimming pool, water feature, birdbath, or other area which is filled with water, take steps to keep mosquitoes away from them. There’s a type of bacteria, known as bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which kills mosquito larvae. Adding this bacterium to your pooled water can prevent the formation of new mosquito populations.
- Citronella candles – Lighting a citronella candle is popular for porches or patios. They offer a nice fragrance that can help keep mosquitoes away.
- Mosquito traps – There is a wide array of traps available for small or large yards as well as patio areas or decks. They can be powered by electricity, propane, or batteries — and they let you know they’re working with each “zap.”
- Chemicals– There are a lot of options for chemical treatment on the market including short-term foggers and long-term insecticidal sprays. Be sure to read up on the pluses and minuses for backyard use before introducing insecticide to your home space.
- Build a bat house– Bats eat mosquitoes and other insects, so you may want to invite the winged mammals over by constructing a home for them atop a high pole. This is an especially attractive option for very large yards or acreage.
- Smartphone app – Believe it or not, there’s an app for an Android and iPhone that emits an ultrasonic sound which is bothersome for mosquitoes.
The Center for Disease Control has published some guidelines to help homeowners control mosquito transported diseases. You can take a look at it here.
Get prepared now for the upcoming mosquito season. If you need some help with a gutter or Gutter Helmet gutter protection project for your home, we’d love to help. We service the Madison area as the Certified Installer for Gutter Helmet.
To learn more about Gutter Helmet, visit us at www.WisconsinHomeRemodeling.com.
About the Author
Ben Lindberg is a NARI Certified Remodeler in Madison, WI. He is an avid blogger at Wisconsin Home Remodeling and focuses his time on Window Replacement and Entry Door Replacement with Wisconsin Home Remodeling. Ben and his team of remodeling contractor professionals are in a constant state of pursuing remodeling knowledge. You can find out more about his firm at www.WisconsinHomeRemodeling.com.