Local News

Mosquitoes Pose Health Risk To Humans, Animals

Posted July 16, 2003 2:45 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina has confirmed its first case of West Nile virus in animals. Tests show horses in Granville and Brunswick counties have the disease.

State health officials are concerned about the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Heavy rain and summer heat are creating perfect breeding conditions for mosquitoes.

Ron Dudley is a one-man mosquito control department for Wake County.

"Most of the complaints we get are from people who say there's a pond nearby or a creek and they say that's their problem," he said.

Dudley said one of the biggest misconceptions about mosquitoes is that they only breed in lakes or ponds. The fact is they can breed in a splash of water no bigger than the size of a quarter.

Mosquitoes travel less than 200 feet from where they hatch. That means anything that holds water can be a breeding ground for the pesky insects, including wet cushions, roof gullies, leaky air conditioning units and flower pots.

To reduce mosquito breeding areas around your home:

  • Remove any containers that can hold water -- especially old tires
  • Keep gutters clean and in good repair
  • Repair leaky outdoor faucets and change the water in bird baths and pet bowls at least twice a week
  • Use screened windows and doors and make sure screens fit tightly and are not torn
  • Keep tight-fitting screens or lids on rain barrels