With the arrival of the Zika virus, it’s more important than ever for homeowners to remain vigilant when it comes to standing water on their properties. Zika is primarily spread through a type of mosquito that prefers to breed in and around water collected in man-made containers.
Washington’s King County Public Health Department offers the following tips to reduce mosquito breeding habitats:
• Tip water out of barrels, buckets and wheelbarrows, and turn them over so water cannot collect again. Tip water out of containers that could potentially hold water, such as cans, plant saucers or toys.
• Maintain swimming pools and spas, and drain water from their covers. Empty children's wading pools weekly.
• Change water in animal troughs, birdbaths and pet water dishes at least once per week.
• Discard, properly store or drill holes in used tires. Recycle bottles.
• Remove debris from ornamental ponds and stock them with fish to keep mosquitoes at bay. Keep fountains running.
• Dump water off plastic sheeting or tarps, including boat covers.
• Keep gutters clear of leaves and other debris to keep water from collecting in them.
• Repair leaky outdoor faucets and ripped door or window screens.
• Cover garbage cans at all times, and cover rain barrels with screens.
Public health officials insist homeowners do their part to reduce exposure to mosquitoes in their communities. Eliminating standing water as soon as possible is one of the best ways to mitigate the spread of Zika.