CHARLOTTE – Summer is the time when communities, associations and property owners get the most out of their lakes, ponds and wetland ecosystems, but mosquitoes can interrupt recreational activities and enjoyment of the outdoors.
In addition to being a nuisance, mosquitoes can carry debilitating diseases, including Zika, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus, which is the most widespread and deadly, reported in 47 states and claiming more than 100 lives last year.
Though mainstream media attention has shifted away from mosquito-borne diseases since the Zika scare of 2015-16, these viruses are still transmitted throughout the country.
“Mosquitoes are a threat to our communities in many ways,” SOLitude Lake Management’s President Marc Bellaud said. “It’s critical for municipalities, landowners and associations to understand and implement preventative management strategies that are effective and safe for residents and the environment.”
SOLitude Lake Management recommends the following preventative tips to limit mosquitoes:
• Limit mosquito-friendly habitats – Female mosquitoes can lay about 300 eggs during their six- to eight-week lifespan. Because mosquitoes tend to lay eggs in standing water, it’s important to clean out gutters, pick up garbage and empty outdoor containers or buckets that can capture water. These efforts will help decrease the number of breeding grounds 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, whose eggs require still water to complete their lifecycle. A floating fountain or submersed diffused aeration system can add continuous movement to stagnant waterbodies.
• 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 bluegill 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. These plants will also help deter nuisance wildlife and prevent trash from flowing into the lake or pond.
• Integrate sustainable biological larvicides – Natural and preventative methods can make an enormous difference, but disease-carrying populations may still have a presence in your area throughout the summer. A more impactful approach is the professional application of a safe EPA-approved biological larvicide formulated from beneficial bacteria. When used as part of an Integrated Mosquito Management program, mosquitoes are targeted through each phase of their lifecycle, contributing to long-term prevention.
About SOLitude Lake Management
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint.
Visit www.solitudelakema nagement.com for details.