Experts are forecasting that the Zika virus, carried by mosquitos, has a very real potential of spreading throughout the United States this summer. Mosquitos' larvae grow in standing water, and those of us enthusiastic about rain barrels should do our due diligence to prevent mosquito larvae from growing in our rainwater. Here, I've compiled a list of ways to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, not only in your rain barrels, but also around your home.
1. Make sure you rain barrel has a closed top. It should either have a lid, or insect netting for preventing mosquitos from getting to the water. If you're unable to have a lid or netting, make sure to treat your rainwater with mosquito dunks that will kill the larvae.
2.Check the grade around your home for any low spots where water may puddle. Fill in any low spots with dirt and seed to ensure your property sheds water to the existing drainage.
3. If you have a pond, regularly manage any floating debris to eliminate sites where mosquitos could lay eggs.
4. Remove any old tires and have them recycled. If you have a tire swing, drill holes in the bottom so that water can drain out.
5. Ensure that your gutters have a proper slope so that water is draining effectively toward the downspout. Clean out your gutters regularly to prevent standing water.
6. Be aware of accidental rain-water collectors around your home, such as awnings, watering cans, bird baths, tarps, etc. Make sure to empty or change standing/stagnant water regularly.
7. If you have an ornamental pond, be sure to stock it with fish to eat the larvae.
Nobody needs zika, let us do our part to help stop the spread.