Drought, rain, now mosquitoes
Okay, so we knew there had to be a downside to all this rain that wiped out the winter drought. It's mosquitoes.
With plenty of puddles and soggy wetlands to breed in, and warming weather to kick-start their development, the little buggers are on their way.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (that's the Ag Dept.'s Dennis Earling, below, inspecting a Baltimore County puddle for mosquito larvae back in 1997) is reminding Marylanders they can do a lot to hold down skeeter populations in their neighborhoods and around their homes. Here the advisory issued today:
"Residents in most areas can anticipate the emergence of troublesome numbers of adult mosquitoes within the next two weeks. Land-based mosquito control activities are underway statewide in addition to aerial spraying on the lower Eastern Shore. MDA’s combined acreage for aerial larviciding and adulticiding is 60,000 acres predominantly in Dorchester County.
“As the weather begins to warm, homeowners are reminded that their regular spring cleaning activities can help reduce mosquito populations” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Measures such as removing containers that accumulate water and cleaning roof gutters will help prevent mosquitoes from breeding and will make spring outdoor activities such as gardening, barbeques and outdoor sports more pleasant.”
While spring cleaning residents should:
• Remove any buckets, cups, bottles, plastic bags, etc. that may have accumulated outside.
• Clean roof gutters (after the oak trees have finished flowering).
• Check rain barrels to make sure they are completely screened (including around the down spout).
• Remove any old tires (or drill holes in those used for playground equipment). Store usable tires in a shed or garage so they will not accumulate water.
• Fix dripping outdoor faucets.
• Introduce fish to ornamental ponds, even those with fountains or bubblers. Most fish will eat mosquito larvae.
• Make sure outdoor trash cans have tight-fitting lids. If lids are not available, drill holes in the bottom of the can.
"For more information about Maryland’s Mosquito Control Program, call 410-841-5870 or go to Maryland Department of Agriculture’s website at www.mda.state.md.us."