Mosquito-Borne Disease Identified

This month, the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) since 2013 was reported in Massachusetts. Now, multiple New England communities are considered at “critical risk” of exposure to this mosquito-borne disease, which can cause flu-like symptoms, brain inflammation and, in severe cases, death. Though EEE has been detected in samples across multiple states, including Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Michigan and Louisiana, historical data indicates that communities in Massachusetts, New York and Florida have had the highest number of reported cases over the past decade.

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To help protect your family, pets and community from EEE, as well as other viruses like Zika and West Nile Virus, SOLitude Lake Management recommends the following tips for limiting mosquito breeding around your property:

Limit mosquito-friendly habitats
Female mosquitoes lay about 300 eggs during their 6- to 8-week lifespan. Because they favor breeding in standing water, it’s important to clean gutters, pick up garbage, and empty outdoor containers or buckets that can capture water. These efforts will decrease the habitats suitable for mosquito reproduction.

Circulate stagnant water
Aeration in lakes and stormwater ponds can do more than reduce bad odors and improve stagnant conditions; it can make a waterbody less appealing to breeding mosquitoes because their eggs require standing water to complete their life cycle.

Remove nuisance plants
Stagnant inlets in lakes and ponds are attractive to mosquitoes for breeding purposes, but can be better circulated when nuisance and invasive plants are removed. Cattails and Phragmites are common plants responsible for creating stagnant water conditions. A professional lake manager can recommend effective removal methods based on the time of year and species present.

Stock fish that feed on mosquito larvae
Another affordable and natural solution to reduce mosquito reproduction is strategic fish stocking. Fathead minnows, mosquitofish and bluegills feed on mosquito larvae, making them great candidates for mosquito control. Check with an experienced fisheries biologist about your state’s specific stocking regulations.

Attract dragonflies with native plants
Another mosquito predator is the dragonfly, which can feed on hundreds of larvae and full-grown mosquitoes each day. Consider planting beneficial buffer species like blue flag iris, pickerelweed, arrowhead, spatterdock, lizard’s tail and native grasses to attract predator dragonflies to the area.

Integrate sustainable biological larvicides
Natural and preventative methods can make an enormous difference, but disease-carrying populations may still be present throughout the summer. A more impactful approach is the professional application of a safe EPA-approved biological larvicide formulated from beneficial bacteria. When utilized as part of an Integrated Mosquito Management program, mosquitoes are targeted through each phase of the reproductive life cycle, contributing to long-term prevention and protection.

Mosquitoes are an annoying and dangerous pest, but efforts to reduce their populations are not futile. Natural and professional prevention methods can help protect communities throughout the year without negatively impacting the environment—so you can fully enjoy the outdoors for the rest of the season.