PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. -- Following the weekend's heavy rains, on Tuesday Putnam County officials are warning residents to dump any standing water in order to prevent the hatching of mosquito larva.
That includes items as small as a bottle cap, that can contain enough water for the larva to breed and hatch.
Already this season, the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) has found and identified Aedes Japonicus mosquitoes, the type that carries West Nile Virus, chikungunya, dengue, and other viruses.
“We have not had a case of West Nile Virus in the county since 2011,” said interim Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat. "But that could change. Taking measures to reduce mosquito populations is very important. Putnam residents are strongly advised to remove all standing water from their property.”
Mosquitoes can breed in anything that collects water in the yard if left for more than four days.
“Checking your yard now and after every rainfall is crucial,” says Robert Morris, director of Environmental Health at the Putnam County Department of Health. “Items that trap water—old tires, rain gutters, cups or cans, even leaves and tree holes—may provide a breeding spot."
Morris suggests drilling holes in tires to drain water, or dispose of them properly; clean gutters, and overturn all containers, however small.
Contrary to popular belief, smaller pools of water are more productive for mosquito breeding than larger bodies of water, which have natural mosquito predators such as fish or aquatic insects, such as dragonflies.
Preventing bites of all kinds also should be a top priority. Shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts can help protect against bites, as well as insect repellent containing DEET (don't allow children to apply themselves).