Daily News Archive
From May 31, 2002

Environmental Groups Urge Residents to Take Steps to Prevent West Nile Virus

This week's photo story was sent to us by Ruth Berlin, director of the Maryland Pesticide Network. The picture is an informative poster designed by the Maryland Pesticide Network to educate residents on potential mosquito breeding sites that might exist on their property. Aside from being a nuisance, mosquitoes can carry diseases including West Nile virus. The discovery of the virus has led many communities to adopt pesticide spray programs attempt to control their mosquito populations.

Mosquitoes can reproduce in as little as four days in standing water. Some species can even lay their eggs in something as small as a bottle cap. By eliminating eliminating potential breeding sites, such as clogged rain gutters, bird baths, pets' water dishes and leaky faucets, communities will be less likely to take further steps to reduce mosquito populations.

What you can do to help beat West Nile virus and unnecessary pesticide exposure:
(from www.mdpestnet.org/WNV_action.htm)

  1. Drain and remove containers holding collected rainwater such as cans, plastic containers and ceramic pots. Eliminate standing water in potted plant containers and saucers. Avoid using saucers under plant pots;
  2. Remove old tires - they hold water where mosquitoes can breed and are the number one habitat;
  3. Change water in containers for birds, pets and other wildlife every four days;
  4. Clean rain gutters of leaves;
  5. Remove standing water from pool covers. Drain stagnant water from swimming pools and chlorinate pool water. Turn over unused wading pools;
  6. Change stagnant water in ornamental pools at least once a week. You can also aerate the pool or water garden or stock them with fish;
  7. Empty stagnant water from garbage cans, buckets, wheel barrows and carts.Turn over wheelbarrows, canoes and buckets. Ensure that trash cans and recycling containers left outdoors have drainage holes in the bottom. Do not leave garbage lids upside down;
  8. Drain water from boats;
  9. Inspect flat rooftops for water accumulation and remove water;
  10. Flush sump-pump pits weekly;
  11. Cover containers tightly with window screen or plastic when storing rainwater for garden use;
  12. Use natural insect repellents (do not use products containing DEET, especially on children) and wear long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors early morning or at dusk and in the evening. Keep your window and door screens in good repair and remember to use them.

For more information visit Beyond Pesticides Mosquito-Borne Diseases page.