Mosquitoes are not only bothersome, but they can also spread diseases like West Nile virus. By eliminating mosquito breeding sources on your property, you are helping to protect your community. Follow this guide to make outdoor activities around your home safer and more enjoyable this summer.
There are three general categories of mosquito breeding habitats: container, floodwater, and permanent. Mosquitoes can hatch from these habitats in less than a week. There are both natural and man-made types for each category, but this guide will focus on man-made habitats on private property. Walk your property to inspect if any of the mosquito sources listed below may be present. If found, follow the guidelines to reduce mosquito breeding on your property.
Container habitats are objects outside that can collect rainwater and stagnate. Containers with organic debris such as grass clippings or dead leaves are especially attractive to mosquitoes, such as:
- Canoes, kayaks, boats
- Tarps, boat covers
- Livestock troughs
- Birdbaths, pet water bowls, flowerpots, toys, wagons, etc.
- Clogged rain gutters
To minimize mosquito breeding in containers:
- Secure tarps and covers tightly
- Turn containers upside down
- Store containers in a garage or shed
- Refresh water often for animals (at least once a week)
- Remove debris from rain gutters and other containers
Floodwater habitats have water on the landscape for a limited time (days to weeks), such as:
- Pooling and stagnation on over-irrigated pastures and meadows
- Pooling around clogged ditches or culverts
- Pooling caused by leaky headgate or other malfunctioning irrigation structures
- Stagnating irrigation tailwaters
- Irrigated areas with poor drainage or depressions
To minimize mosquito breeding:
- Minimize stagnation of irrigation waters by avoiding over-irrigating on saturated soils and by draining pastures of excess water.
- Ensure irrigation structures are in good working order. For assistance with malfunctioning structures, consider the Small Water Project Program through the Teton Conservation District.
- Keep water from collecting in low-lying areas by filling them or avoiding over-irrigating in these locations.
- Remove any blockages in ditches and culverts such as vegetation or sediment buildup so water can drain freely.
Permanent habitats are those that are on the landscape permanently or semi-permanently, such as:
- Ponds with limited water movement, high temperatures, low dissolved oxygen, and nutrient enrichment. These factors can limit the presence of mosquito predators (aquatic macroinvertebrates) and breed certain mosquitoes, including those that can transmit West Nile virus
To minimize mosquito breeding:
- The healthier ponds in Teton County with high levels of macroinvertebrate biodiversity such as immature beetles, flies, dragonflies, etc. generally have very limited to no breeding due to mosquito larvae predation
- Contact the District for a pond inspection to determine if your pond is breeding or not
- If your pond is breeding mosquitoes, it can be treated with an environmentally sensitive biological control agent called BTI. These products are specific to mosquitoes and safe for other aquatic life. Often called “mosquito dunks,” they can be purchased at any local hardware store.
- Work with a pond maintenance contractor that is skilled in integrated pest management practices and the protection of natural resources to promote biodiversity (mosquito predators) in your pond
- Visit the Jackson Hole Clean Water Coalition's website at jhcleanwater.org for more information about water quality