In addition to being general nuisances, mosquitoes are known vectors of various human illnesses, including dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus disease. People may become infected with these illnesses after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
At this time, the most effective way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses is to reduce sources of mosquito breeding around areas where people live. Homeowners can remove, dump or apply larvicide to sources of standing water in yards, including small containers that can collect water.
Communities and homeowners’ associations can launch a mosquito “source reduction” campaign to eliminate mosquito breeding areas in their neighborhoods. A source reduction campaign may include:
- Sharing information with property owners about how to reduce breeding sources of mosquitoes in their yards (some outreach strategies include flyers, newsletter articles,and social media postings)
- A door-to-door effort of surveying external properties with the property owner to point out mosquito breeding sources and provide tips on how to address these
For help implementing a neighborhood mosquito source reduction campaign, use the Toolkit developed by the St. Mary’s County Health Department. Community members who are interested in becoming campaign coordinators are invited to use this toolkit. The Toolkit includes:
- “Help Control Mosquitoes that Spread Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika Virus” (a CDC handout about mosquito source reduction strategies, including tips for homeowners)
- “Zika: The Basics of the Virus and How to Protect Against It“
- A template letter that can be distributed by your local association to property owners
- A sample informational article that can be used for your newsletter or local email distribution list
- Handouts to give to property owners about mosquito source reduction
- Links to additional resources, including contact information for the local health department and the local office of the Maryland Department of Agriculture
For questions about implementing a neighborhood mosquito source reduction campaign in your community, please contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department’s Environmental Health Division at 301-475-4321.
Mosquito Source Reduction
- St. Mary’s County Health Department: Zika Information
- Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH): State Zika Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Zika Updates