2016 Spring Stormwater Management Newsletter: Stormwater & Mosquitoes
Video: Mosquito Prevention (Orange County, NC Health Department)
There are nearly 60 species of mosquitoes in North Carolina, and life cycles can vary. Both males and females drink nectar and are important pollinators. Females also feed on blood as they need the protein to lay their eggs.
Certain species can carry diseases such as West Nile fever, Eastern Equine and Lacrosse Encephalitis, Dengue, and Chikungunya. It is important for residents to be aware of potential breeding areas for mosquitoes, and to take measures to drain or treat standing water. Mosquitoes can lay eggs in just a teaspoon of water. BTi rings or bits are commercially available to use in wet areas, ponds, rain barrels or other areas that do not drain rapidly. They target mosquito larvae without harming humans, pets, amphibians, fish or birds. Read more below about how to reduce breeding sites for mosquitoes.
The CDC recommends that while you are outdoors, you wear protective clothing and use EPA-registered insect repellants according to directions. For comfort, you can also use a strong fan pointed toward you on the (dry) patio or deck if sitting outside. The breeze caused by the fan makes it difficult for small insects to fly in its current. Do not use the fan on a wet surface.
Need to Report Mosquito Infestations on Town Property?
What Are the Most Common Sources of Mosquito Breeding In and Around the Home?
What Are the Top Ten Ways You Can Reduce the Number of Mosquito Breeding Habitats In and Around Your Home?
Does the Town of Chapel Hill Use Chemicals to Control Mosquitoes?
Where Does the Town of Chapel Hill Use Larvicide to Control Mosquitoes?
Q: What Are the Most Common Sources of Mosquito Breeding In and Around the Home?
A: The majority of mosquito problems around the house can be traced to small containers that hold water for at least a week. Old bottles, cups, flowerpot water trays, birdbaths, tree holes and old tires are very good locations for mosquitoes to breed. Leaf-filled gutters are also particularly good places for mosquitoes to breed. Some species need only a teaspoon of standing water to set up their nurseries.
- Throw away old bottles, cans and plastic containers.
- Clean leaf-filled gutters to allow proper drainage.
- Turn buckets, baby pools, boats and other outside containers upside down when they are not in use. Check rims and indentations weekly.
- Change the water in birdbaths, ornamental ponds and fountains at least once a week. Aeration also helps. Scrubbing can remove eggs stuck above the water line.
- Screen or cover rain barrels, garbage cans and other large containers. Screen open ends of corrugated plastic drainage pipes.
- Keep tight lids on garbage cans, carts or other outdoor containers.
- Wash and take old tires to the landfill on Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. (Orange County, NC residents only)
- Fill in tree holes or place BTi (a part of a dunk or some bits) inside where water collects.
- Empty water from small outside containers such as flowerpots, vases and dishes.
- Repair leaky water faucets, water hoses and air conditioners to avoid stagnant puddles.
- Maintain ponds: aerate, remove floating algae and all cattails, and stock ponds with fish.
Q: Does the Town of Chapel Hill Use Chemicals to Control Mosquitoes on Town-owned Property?
A: No. The Town uses a biological larvicide called “Bactimos” to treat mosquito breeding grounds that contain mosquito larvae. Bactimos contains the spores of the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (or Bti for short). Mosquito larvae eat the bacteria and die when the bacteria’s enzymes destroy the mosquito larvae; however, Bti does not affect humans, fish, plants or other aquatic wildlife.
Q: Where Does the Town of Chapel Hill Use Larvicide to Control Mosquitoes?
A: The Town does not treat private property; however, the Town monitors public parks and recreation facilities and other open space areas owned by the Town of Chapel Hill.
- Life Cycles of Mosquitoes
- Mosquito Facts: NC Mosquito and Vector Control Association Brochure
- Mosquito Bytes: Everything you ever wanted to know about mosquitoes.
- Asian Tiger Mosquito
- Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus: Mosquitoes carrying dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, and yellow fever
- American Mosquito Control Association: General control information and links to other mosquito control programs
- Key to Mosquitoes of North Carolina and Mid-Atlantic States
- EPA on mosquito control
- National Pesticide Information Center
- Center for Disease Control - Mosquito Bite Prevention
Links to the outside information sources listed above are provided as a courtesy only. The Town of Chapel Hill is not responsible for the information they contain. These links do not represent or imply the endorsement of the policies and/or products of the outside agencies or organizations in question.