With hurricane season officially beginning June 1, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment and the American Mosquito Control Association are promoting awareness about the importance of preventing, removing and treating standing water to combat the spread of disease through mosquitoes. In the aftermath of a hurricane, impacted areas can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes often due to the combination of deep floodwaters, downed trees and overgrown grass. Attention to standing water before and after a hurricane can help prevent conditions that lead to mosquitoes multiplying and spreading disease.
“We encourage every person and community in a hurricane zone to properly prepare to combat the growth of mosquitoes,” says Megan Provost, president of RISE. “Disease spreads in multiple ways, and it’s critical to prevent the spread of those that are vector-borne, such as West Nile Virus. All members of a community benefit when individuals take the right precautions, including emptying standing water and using mosquito-repellents approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The specialty pesticide and fertilizer industry remains committed to supporting communities as we all work to prevent the spread of disease and protect public health.”
“In the aftermath of severe and prolonged rains from hurricanes, the receding waters leave pools of standing water in new areas where they didn’t previously exist. Combined with the summer heat speeding reproduction, the result can be a drastic increase in mosquito populations,” says Joe Conlon, AMCA technical advisor. “Homeowners can help mitigate these mosquito problems by taking steps prior to a storm to reduce areas where standing water might accumulate around the home.”
Steps to prevent or lessen the chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease before and after a storm include:
- Drain all standing water and prevent water accumulation when possible. Check all areas that might hold water, such as tire swings, buckets, bottles, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpot saucers, pool toys and even bottle caps. Cover trash containers and store boats covered or upside down, or remove rainwater weekly from boats.
- Fill in or drain low places in your yard (e.g., puddles, ruts, hollow stumps), and keep grass cut short and shrubbery well-trimmed to eliminate harborage for mosquitoes and other potentially harmful pests.
- Keep roof gutters free of leaves and other debris.
- Avoid activities during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Avoid damp grass, which attracts mosquitoes, when taking part in outdoor activities.
- Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants.
- Defend yourself against mosquitoes with an EPA-approved repellent.
- Ensure all doors and windows are intact to prevent mosquitoes from coming in and out of your home.