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Sources: Lee Townsend and Tom Priddy

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Sources: Lee Townsend and Tom Priddy
Excessive rainfall in most of Kentucky has created abundant breeding sites for mosquitoes.

Let=s compare Kentucky rainfall from early April through mid-May this year to 2001. This year, we had nearly 11 inches of rainfall during that period, or 153 percent of normal. Whereas, Kentucky had just over four and one-third inches, or 60 percent of normal, during this time frame in 2001.

The most effective way to control mosquitoes is to find and eliminate their breeding sites. And standing water is the prime breeding ground and location for immature mosquitoes, or larvae, also called Awigglers.@

On farms, tremendous numbers of mosquitoes can breed in shallow, marshy areas; pooled water in drainage ditches or low areas; standing water in hoof prints around watering troughs; seepage areas, and similar locations. Filling or draining these areas is an effective long-term solution. If eliminating standing water isn=t possible, consider using a mosquito-specific larvicide, an insecticide used to control immature mosquitoes.

Following are some ways to control immature mosquitoes on the farm:

Products that are essentially harmless to fish, wildlife and other non-target organisms contain the active ingredient methoprene, an insect growth regulator, or the bacterial toxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. These water-soluble granules, pellets or briquets are easy to apply and sometimes can be bought at farm supply stores and pesticide dealers.

Mononuclear films are chemicals that spread a thin layer over the water surface, interfering with mosquito larvae and pupae breathing. These products can impede adult emergence. They are applied only to standing water and don=t last very long.

A variety of small fish will feed on mosquito larvae. To enable these fish to get to immature mosquitoes, control emerging vegetation and keep banks steep, rather than a gradual drop off.

When other fish aren=t available or effective, stocking with mosquito fish species such as Gambusia affinis or Lebistes reticulatus and be a viable farm control program. These fish are well-suited to stagnant waters. The number of fish needed for ponds is based on the water surface area. One supplier recommends 12 fish per approximately 50 square feet of water surface.

Here are some more mosquito control measures you can take around the farm and your home.

Destroy and dispose of containers that collect and hold water such as tin cans, old tires, buckets and plastic sheeting. Don=t allow water to accumulate at the base of flower pots or pet dishes more than two days.

Check around faucets and air conditioner units for puddles that remain for several days. Be sure to eliminate these puddles and repair any leaks to avoid future water accumulations. Clean debris from rain gutters and remove standing water under or around structures and on flat roofs.

Change the water in bird baths and wading pools at least once a week. Stock ornamental pools with mosquito fish. You can buy these top-feeding, predacious minnows, or sein them from creeks or streams.

Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas. If you have tree holes or stumps, either remove, drain or fill them with mortar to prevent water accumulation.

Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools and septic tanks.

Water lawns and gardens sufficiently to maintain them, but not to the point that water stands for several days.

For more information on mosquito control, contact your (County Name) Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.


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