Summer is here, and with it comes mosquitoes. Besides their annoying bites, mosquitoes are the main carriers of diseases such as West Nile Virus. Their peak breeding season is during the summer months when mosquitoes can take advantage of the heat and standing water leftover from spring and summer rains. While the City of Chicago takes an active role in mosquito abatement, there are some things you can do around the house that will prevent the spread of mosquitoes and decrease your risk of infection.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so it is important to eliminate as many potential breeding sites as possible. While the city works to eliminate standing water in storm drains and ditches, mosquitoes can breed in standing water from a pet bowl or water left on a pool cover in your yard. Make it a habit to regularly clean and empty excess water from pools, pool covers, hot tubs, gutters, bird baths, and flower pots. Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings or garbage bins to limit standing water. Furthermore, mosquitoes like to live in long grass and weeds; keep your grass trimmed and neat to decrease the habitat of adult mosquitoes. Lastly, ensure that screens, windows, and doors have a tight fit and are free of holes; this can prevent mosquitoes from flying into your home and can further limit your exposure to mosquitoes.
Besides limiting mosquitoes’ habitat, there are other ways to prevent your exposure. Avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites altogether is a good way to avoid infection, since West Nile Virus only spreads from mosquitoes. If it’s possible, stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and other periods of high mosquito activity to decrease your exposure to mosquito bites. If you must be outdoors, wear loose fitting, light colored clothing like long sleeves, long pants, and socks.
For information on mosquito spraying and abatement in your neighborhood visit the City of Chicago Department of Public Health’s website.