Angie's List: Tips to minimize mosquitos this summer


Mosquitos can become more than just a nuisance for homeowners during the hot summer months.
But there are some things you can do, according to our partners at the consumer group Angie's List.
"This time of year it can be almost impossible to enjoy your backyard if you have mosquitos and it's important you don't ignore that problem because they can carry the West Nile virus. You want to take precautions to protect your family," said Angie Hicks with Angie's List.
But there are several things you can do to combat the problem.
"When it comes to mosquitoes they love to breed in standing water, so the key here is to remove any standing water on your property. If you have a kiddie pool, a birdbath, empty those at least once a week. If you have gutters that are clogged, that's also a potential problem so be sure they are properly maintained. Also, keep your yard well trimmed. Have the lawn mowed regularly, keep the plants from overgrowing because all of those things will help to minimize mosquitos," said Hicks.
Angie's List recommends these tips:
1. Drain standing water. Mosquitos typically breed in stagnant water. Once a week, empty water from bird baths, flowerpot saucers, pet dishes, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools and other containers that collect and hold water.
2. Make sure your lawn and landscaping isn't harboring standing water. The biggest thing is drainage. You've got to make sure you get wet areas drained correctly so they don't have any standing water. A professional landscaper can help you come up with a plan to minimize your lawn's potential as a breeding ground for mosquitos.
3. Keep gutters cleaned and free of standing water. Hire a professional gutter cleaning company to clean your gutters at least once a year to keep the risk of standing water down. The most common reason gutters hold water is because the downspout is clogged. The other possibility is an incorrect pitch. If your gutters are not angled on the house correctly, the water will not flow the direction it needs to flow to drain away from the home. Hiring a professional gutter cleaning company can help your determine potential drainage or pitch issues.
4. Mow your lawn regularly and trim vegetation back in areas close to the home where water collects.
5. Check your window and door screens for holes and repair or replace as needed. Also check weather stripping around doors and windows for gaps.
If you have a severe problem with mosquitos, you may want to call on a professional for help.
Angie's List tips on hiring a pest control company:
1. When hiring a company to apply chemicals, ask if it's safe to use around children, pets and plants; ask to see the label of the product.
2. Is the technician certified to use chemicals?
3. Inquire how often the company will come out to apply the chemicals. Is it a regular or one-time treatment?
4. All details should be clearly stated in a contract before you sign the dotted line, including whether the company offers a guarantee.
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