As the days grow longer and warmer, so are the chances we will soon have some unwelcome visitors. They’re not here yet, but you can bet they will be buzzing around our neighborhoods by late spring.
We are, of course, talking about the pesky mosquito. And while most Americans consider mosquitoes to be nothing more than a nuisance, they do pose a real public health threat that can prove deadly for some.
The Environmental Protection Agency says mosquito-borne diseases affect millions of people worldwide each year. In the United States, some species of mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as dengue fever and malaria to humans, as well as a variety of diseases to wildlife and domestic animals.
The number of reported cases of West Nile virus, which is one of the diseases transmitted through mosquito bites, has declined in recent years, thanks in part to the efforts of Johnson City and other local governments to step up the use of chemical and biological pesticides to control the mosquito population.
You can take steps to control the mosquito population on your property by eliminating breeding habitats for the insects. That means getting rid of any standing water around the home, including water in potted plant dishes, garbage cans, old tires and wading pools. It’s important to remember mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than four days.
Homeowners also should keep drains, ditches and culverts clear of weeds and trash. Doing so reduces the breeding opportunities for these pesky visitors.