Dump water-holding containers to reduce mosquito-borne illnesses

Water makes all life possible. Don’t make life easy for mosquitos and the illnesses they spread. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) encourage everyone to remove from their property any small water-holding containers that could fill with rainwater this spring and be used as breeding areas by mosquitoes.

When outdoors this spring, take time to look for water-holding containers on your property,” said Kirk Johnson, Vector Ecologist at the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District. “We still have several weeks before the mosquitoes developing in those containers become adults that can bite people. 

Containers that people wish to keep (for example, 5-gallon pails, wheelbarrows, children’s wading pools), can be turned over when not in use to prevent the collection of rainwater and any possible use as breeding sites by mosquitoes. Property owners can also look for water-holding holes or depressions in trees (often pockets form where two or more trunks meet near the ground) and fill these with soil or sand to prevent mosquito use.

The attention on Zika nationally has prompted us to re-evaluate our mosquito control efforts and how those efforts can help reduce the risk from La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile virus and other vector-borne diseases,” said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health.

None of these container-breeding mosquitoes fly far from where they breed, so it is quite possible for people to keep them away from their homes and families by removing the water sources they require.

A little bit of container removal work right now can go a long way to protect your family this summer,” said Dave Neitzel, MDH Vectorborne Disease Epidemiologist.

For more information on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease prevention, visit the preventing mosquito-borne disease MDH webpage.

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