Backyard Hunt – yard

Backyard Hunt

To control mosquitoes, you must know where they breed and rest. Search below to locate and learn about these areas.

Use the scroll bar, arrow keys or swipe your touch screen to move left and right. Explore scene with mouse or touch to target breeding and resting sites, then select target for audio-visual information. Select gate opening to visit alley.    Text version

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Bird Baths – Mosquitoes lay eggs and breed in water that is rich in organic matter and micro-organisms. The microbes on which mosquito larvae feed can be abundant in common garden features, like bird baths and potted plant dishes. Potting soil, leaves and bird droppings in the water provide plenty of nutrients for these microbes. For this reason, clean and replace the water in bird baths and potted plant dishes at east weekly.

Birdhouses – Believe it or not, some mosquito species prefer to feed on birds over people. Mosquito-borne viruses often live in birds, like this sparrow, until they are picked up by another mosquito, and perhaps spread to people or other animals. When many birds in an area become infected, the risk of human infection goes up. Fortunately, there is no evidence yet that attracting birds to your yard increases your risk of catching a virus from mosquitoes. In fact, having birds around may keep mosquitoes from biting less desirable hosts like you.

Foliage-During the day adult mosquitoes, like this one, usually hide in cool, shady foliage. In fact, you’re most likely to encounter mosquitoes during the day when you get close to shrubs, dense flowers, ground cover, vines or shade trees. Should mosquitoes become a nuisance in your backyard, these areas can be treated with a long-lasting insecticide. Insecticide treatments to these sites can kill these resting mosquitoes for a few hours up to a month, depending on the product used. Visit our mosquito control page for more information.

Doorways and Windows -During the day mosquitoes will hide on shady walls, on soffits under the eaves of houses and in other dark spaces outdoors. Mosquitoes hiding around shaded doorways are especially pesky, because they can easily enter your home when you enter and leave the house. These sites are good places to treat with one of the longer-lasting insecticides. Visit our mosquito control page for more information.

Window Screens – It’s bad enough battling mosquitoes outdoors during the summer. You don’t want to open indoor areas of your home to these biting pests too. At least  once a year make sure that all house windows that open are screened, and that screens are in good repair. Protecting yourself and your family from nighttime biting mosquitoes is as important for your health as it is for getting a good night’s sleep.

Containers -The busiest mosquito breeding site is the one that’s overlooked or forgotten. During mosquito season check your whole yard for neglected containers that are large enough to hold a cup or more of water. Plastic tubs and buckets, wagons, wheel barrows, watering cans, wading pools and boat tarps are common breeding sites. Even small containers, like soft drink cans, can hold enough water to breed dozens of mosquitoes. It’s a good idea to store any container capable of holding water upside down and keep your yard free of toys and trash.

Gutters – Clogged or poorly draining gutters, especially when full of leaves and debris, can make excellent mosquito breeding sites after a rain. Gutters should be cleaned and repaired at least once a year, preferably in early spring.

Sprinklers -Don’t let dry weather fool you into thinking that mosquitoes will automatically go away. Backyard sprinklers and irrigation systems can create standing water even when it hasn’t rained lately. Look for containers or catch basins that might collect and hold water from your sprinkler system. Installing a drip irrigation system in your garden beds not only saves water, it also reduces the risk of creating standing water.

Catch Basins -One set of often-overlooked mosquito breeding sites includes septic fields and underground water catch basins. Even when most ground is dry, water may linger in septic fields and in poorly designed catch basins and French drains. Consult an engineer about poorly draining septic systems—these can create serious mosquito problems. Water-holding catch basins can be treated with an approved insecticide; or for a more permanent fix, by simply filling the bottom of the catch basin with gravel or sand.

Swimming Pools -Occasionally swimming pools are left unmaintained, or drained for various reasons. If not fixed quickly, such pools can turn into stagnant mosquito breeding holes like this one. Unused pools can be treated chemically, or if the pool cannot be promptly drained, mosquito-eating fish can be introduced. Call your local health department or mosquito control authority if you know of such a site in your neighborhood.

Click here to discover mosquito breeding and resting sites in your alley or nearby public spaces.