‘Tip and toss’ to rid your yard of mosquito breeding sites

WASHINGTON — If you’re being bitten by mosquitoes at your house, it might be your own fault.

The critters most common in the Baltimore-D.C. area don’t fly far from where they lay eggs.

“Chances are they’re breeding on your property,” said John Silcox, the public safety information officer for the Fairfax County Health Department.

“So, go around your property, look for potential breeding sites, tip and toss any standing water you see and do that on a weekly basis.”

Places Silcox recommends to look for standing water include:

  • Downspout drain extenders
  • Tarps on woodpiles or lawn equipment
  • Containers under decks or porches
  • Recycle bins and trash cans
  • Children’s toys
  • Saucers under potted plants
  • Grills and patio furniture
  • Pet water bowls and bird baths
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Watering cans
  • Bottle caps or any trash that can hold water

“We certainly encourage you to go around your house and tip and toss containers of water. But also, if you’re going to be outside, you need to be wearing insect repellent,” Silcox said. “Putting on insect repellent is your best defense against biting mosquitoes.”

The health department is concerned about controlling mosquitoes because some species can spread viruses such as Zika, West Nile, dengue, chikungunya and others.

The Aedes albopictus mosquito, commonly known as the Asian Tiger Mosquito, that’s widespread here is not as likely as other mosquito varieties to carry and pass on viruses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. But it isn’t completely risk-free.

“We do have some concerns that it could potentially be a vector for Zika. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re definitely keeping an eye on that,” Silcox said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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