Standing Water and West Nile virus Some mosquitoes lay their eggs in small pools of water (standing water) around homes and businesses. They can develop in any standing water that lasts more than four days. Even a small pool of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes that can transmit diseases like West Nile virus.
The West Nile virus can occasionally cause a serious illness called encephalitis (swelling of the brain). The virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The most effective and environmentally friendly way to prevent the spread of West Nile virus is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and to protect yourself and your family from exposure.
Here's what you can do to reduce or eliminate all standing water in your yard:
Do not allow water to collect in the bottom of garbage cans or recycling containers. Turn them over or drill holes in the bottom of the can.
Recycle or dispose of unwanted containers.
Clean pet food and water bowls and store them indoors when not in use.
Clean roof gutters, downspouts and eavestroughs regularly.
Cover rain barrels with fine mesh netting.
Drain water regularly from birdbaths, flower pots, window boxes, planters and swimming pool covers.
Turn over plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows and canoes when not in use.
Eliminate discarded tires. If you must keep them, remove any standing water from the tires and store them indoors or in a closed shed.
Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
Bubble ornamental garden ponds using an oxygenator.
Use landscaping to eliminate stagnant water that collects on your property and clean up leaves or other organic debris.
Here's what you can do to protect yourself and your family from exposure:
Minimize the time you spend outside during the evening, night and dawn hours when mosquitos are most active.
Wear light coloured clothing - mosquitos are attracted to dark colours.
Wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and shoes and socks when you are at risk of mosquito contact.
Apply insect repellant to skin when at risk of contact. Remember to carefully read and follow the manufacturer's directions.
For more information on West Nile virus or to speak to a Public Health Inspector, call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-252-9933.