From age-old scourges like malaria and Dengue fever to emerging threats like West Nile and the Zika virus, the common mosquito carries some pretty frightening diseases. When public health officials learn of a giant mosquito threat, the first thing they do is implement a vector-control strategy. That means wiping out mosquitoes at their source, before they have a chance to infect people and spread disease.

You do not have to wait for word from the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to take charge of your own mosquito problem here in Arizona. The things you do in your own back yard can have a profound impact, not only on the safety of your own family but on the safety of the population as a whole. Here are some preventative pest control tips every homeowner can use to protect themselves and their properties from the dangers posed by mosquitoes.

8 Tips To Avoid a Giant Mosquito Threat

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water. From trash cans left uncovered in a storm to moisture collecting on pool covers after a rain, standing problem is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Take steps to remove all sources of standing water, no matter how small.
  • Replace your traditional white patio lights with yellow bulbs. White light acts as a magnet for mosquitoes, while yellow lights do not. Yellow lights can also keep mayflies and other troublesome insects away from your patio and porch.
  • Hang a bug zapper on your front porch or patio. Bug zappers are effective at controlling mosquitoes as well as other flying insects.
  • Cover up exposed skin when working outside or hanging out on the patio after dark. Wear dark-colored clothing whenever possible; mosquitoes are more attracted to light colors than dark ones.
  • Be careful with perfumes and scented lotions. Mosquitoes are often drawn to common scents, including perfumes and skin creams with a floral or fruity scent.
  • If you have a fountain or pond, adding bacillus thuringiensis (BT) to the water can kill giant mosquito larvae before they hatch. BT is an effective form of mosquito control that will not harm your plants and fish.
  • Use citronella candles to repel mosquitoes when outdoors. Tiki torches filled with citronella oil can protect your pool and make your backyard look great.
  • Bathe your pets in a shampoo with mosquito-repelling qualities. Shampoos containing neem are particularly effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay.

Keeping mosquitoes under control is the shared responsibility of every homeowner. Public health officials can help with spraying and water-control programs, but the willing assistance of ordinary homeowners will make their preventative pest control efforts far more effective here in Arizona.