INDIANAPOLIS – With health experts warning that this summer’s West Nile Virus is the largest outbreak in U.S. history, homeowners may be worried about whether their backyards are safe.
“There are simple steps homeowners can do themselves to minimize mosquitos, but in many cases they’ll need their neighbors’ cooperation, too,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, which offers consumer reviews on local service companies, including pest control. “All the treatments, clean-up and smart landscaping in the world isn’t going to help you if you have a mosquito breeding ground next door.”
Mosquitoes are attracted to standing and stagnant water, so basic tips for cleaning up include emptying kiddie pools and bird baths and keeping the lawn clean and trimmed. Jobs that require ladders, like gutter cleaning, might be best left to a handyman or other professional.
“Coordinate with your neighbors or even your home owners association to find a highly rated pest control professional to treat your properties,” Hicks said. “Some companies offer discounts for treating multiple properties at once because it saves them on fuel, supply and labor costs.”
Some health departments provide mosquito control services at no charge, and pest control companies offer specialized mosquito control services. For more information visit:http://www.angieslist.com/
Angie’s Advice for Hiring Mosquito Control Experts:
- Check the company’s local reputation as well as certification and licensing status. Begin your search here:
- Ask what kinds of chemicals will be used and what safety precautions should be used – especially for pets or children.
- Ask if there are more environmentally friendly applications.
- Ask how often and where the substances will be applied.
- Ask how price is determined – flat fee or size of yard, one-time application or multiple.
Angie’s Steps to Keep Mosquitoes Away:
- Monitor water bowls for pets, fountains, bird baths, drainage ditches or other areas where stagnant water may collect. These are the areas where mosquitoes lay eggs.
- Check outdoor faucets and garden hoses for leaks and surrounding pooling areas.
- Remove any unnecessary items where water collects.
- Keep weeds and grass trimmed and away from tree bases, property edging and other areas where moisture can build up.
- Keep gutters clear.
- Check all screens in the home for tears or gaps.
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