With mosquito season here, the Georgia Department of Public Health is encouraging area residents to “Tip and Toss” standing water around your home to help control the mosquito population.

Public health officials are emphasizing that one of the most effective ways to control local mosquito populations and prevent the spread of mosquito-borne disease is by eliminating standing water around the home and in the yard, especially in any sort or size of container. “Tip ‘n Toss —   it’s a habit we wish everyone would develop and practice year-round,” says Allee.

“We’re urging people to clean up around their homes and yards to eliminate potential mosquito breeding areas,” Allee says, “then continue practicing Tip ‘n Toss, especially after every rainfall, through the summer months, into the fall and over the winter. If you have things in and around your home and yard that can hold water, even old bottle caps or upturned magnolia leaves, get rid of them.  After every rainfall, and at least once a week, Tip ‘n Toss.”

“Dump out standing water in flowerpots and planters, children’s toys, or trash containers. Don’t allow water to accumulate in old tires, rain gutters, piles of leaves, or natural holes in vegetation. Tightly cover water storage containers, such as buckets, cisterns, and rain barrels, so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids and too big to Tip ‘N Toss, such as bird baths and pools) use larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes  —  they will not hurt birds or animals.”

“Most mosquitoes often stay within several hundred feet of where they’re hatched,” Allee says, “so you can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by doing this.” Of course, mosquitoes don’t recognize property lines, so “controlling their numbers has to be a collaborative effort among neighbors,” Allee stresses.

Adult mosquitoes live inside and outside, so keep mosquitoes out of your home. Use screens on windows and doors, making sure they are in good repair and fit tightly. Use air conditioning when it’s available. Mosquitoes are not strong fliers, so using fans on porches and patios can also help reduce mosquito exposure.

Using personal protection to avoid mosquito bites when engaging in outdoor activities is also important, says Allee. “Wear lightweight long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks. Using EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET or a product such as oil of lemon eucalyptus will reduce exposure to mosquitoes.” For more information on EPA-registered insect repellants, visit https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-insect-repellent-right-you

For more information on how to prevent mosquito bites, visit www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html